Title: Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine
Research Interests: Chagas disease, the related triatomines (kissing bugs), protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi.
Project: Prevalence of Chagas Disease and Other Comorbidities among Individuals from Latin America in Florida.
Community-based population study to investigate the prevalence of Chagas disease and other comorbidities among at-risk populations living in Florida. Recruitment taking place throughout the state at local clinics, community events, & health fairs. Please email Chagas-Disease@ufl.edu for more information. Collaborative effort with the Dr. Rhoel Dinglasan laboratory at the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute.
Project: Florida triatomine (kissing bug) distribution and Trypanosoma cruzi infection in Florida.
Florida triatomines naturally reside in Florida and are known to harbor T. cruzi. Captured triatomines throughout the state of Florida are being tested for T. cruzi and further strain typing to better understand this parasite in our state. Blood meal analysis is being done to assess what these insects are feeding upon. Environmental and ecological data is collected to understand risks for exposure to humans and other hosts. Collaborative effort with Dr. Samantha Wisely laboratory (UF IFAS WEC) and Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory and Dr. Nathan Burkett-Cadena Laboratory (Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory).
Project: Trypanosoma cruzi infection among wildlife and the spatial ecology of Chagas disease reservoirs in Florida.
Trypanosoma cruzi infection will be determined among a field assessment of trapped mammals in Florida. Environmental and ecological data will be collected to determine “hot spots” with known kissing bug activity and its relation to human dwellings.
Collaborative effort with Dr. Samantha Wisely laboratory (UF IFAS WEC).
Project: Trypanosoma cruzi infection among shelter cats in Florida.
Blood samples collected by nobuto strips from shelter cats will be tested for T. cruzi DNA using molecular techniques such as RT-PCR. This will help determine if domestic cats are infected with T. cruzi in Florida and help us understand more about the sylvatic, peri-domestic and possibly domestic life cycle of this parasite.