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Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biologia Celular e Molecular
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
Fábio Aguiar Alves, PhD
Fabio was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at U.C. Berkeley collaborating with Lee Riley on the molecular epidemiology of Staphylococcus aureus.
I am a Professor at Fluminense Federal University in Niterói, RJ, Brazil and my lab conducts molecular epidemiologic studies and experiments to understand the pathogenesis of Gram-positive bacterial isolates.
Olivera Marjanovic, PhD
My work primarily focused on understanding the mechanisms of bacterial persistence within its host. Our work involves understanding the role that the mce operons, encoding ABC like transporters, play in the process of lipid importation and metabolism.
Another project that we are working on involves characterization of the cell wall lipid content of drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates circulating throughout different regions of India. The main objective of this project is to discover novel mechanisms of Mycobacterium tuberculosis drug resistance.
Eva Raphael, MPH
The project I worked on for the past 4 years was focused on drug-resistant GNB on spinach. Sampling from organic and non-organic retail store-bought spinach, we identified saprophytic bacterial species by sequencing the 16srRNA region, tested for antibiotic susceptibility, and screened drug-resistance genes. I found CTX-M-15 genes to be harbored by Pseudomonas putida and Pseudomonas teessidea. This information is of great importance as CTX-M-15 genes have been found globally in Escherichia coli pathogens that cause community-acquired infections. In the past years, I also helped develop a protocol for a collaborative study on bacterial vaginosis with Dr. Purnima Madhivanan and Dr. Jeff Klausner at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The project consisted of describing the vaginal microbial population, especially Lactobacillus species in pregnant women with and without BV in Mysore, India, and the Bay Area, California.
Hillary Berman, PhD, MPH
Before coming to the IDI PhD program I got my MPH in Epidemiology/Biostatistics from the Berkeley School of Public Health. During my MPH I worked in the Riley lab on a molecular epidemiology project investigating the distribution of super antigen genes in Group A Streptococcus collected in Brazil. I am currently investigating antibiotic resistance in gram negative bacteria. I am using a functional screen of a metagenomic library generated from microbial communities found on retail "baby spinach" to identify novel antibiotic resistance genes. We are also investigating the spread of known antibiotic resistance genes in microbial communities from food products.
Amador Goodridge, PhD
Tuberculosis (TB) faces difficult challenges for its treatment and control. Both the diagnosis of TB and Mycobacterium tuberculosis drug susceptibility testing take weeks and clinicians often do not know if the patient is taking an appropriate set of drugs until complications or even death occur. Consequently, early determination of a successful drug therapy response in individuals infected with M. tuberculosis is urgently needed. Since theM. tuberculosis cell wall is comprised of a diverse repertoire of lipids, I am interested in the role of these lipids as antigens for serologic response during M. tuberculosis infection. My dissertation research focused on the examination of lipid-antibody response as a potential biomarker used to monitor treatment response in M. tuberculosis infected hosts.
Charlotte Smith, PhD
Charlotte Smith received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health - Environmental Health Sciences Division. She studies survival or pathogenic bacteria in free-living protozoa in drinking water.
Michael Picette, MPH
My name is Michael Picetti and I am a second-year MPH student working on a project involving antimicrobial resistance prevalence among E. coli that cause urinary tract infections in Mysore, India. Specifically, I am running PCR to check for the presence/absence of particular genes (ndm-1, CTX-M, KPC, and ESBL-multiplex) that confer antimicrobial resistance in these uropathogenic E. coli. Also, I am identifying the various clonal groups to which these uropathogenic isolates belong by performing DNA sequencing. Our hypothesis is that the presence of only a few clonal groups would represent an endemic pattern of occurrence of these uropathogenic isolates whereas a large number of clonal groups would suggest an epidemic pattern of occurrence. Determining the pattern of occurrence is important in potentially disrupting the further dissemination of such multi-drug resistant E. coli strains in India and beyond.
Lucas Laux da Costa, MSc
I have been conducting my master's degree at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil, in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program since 2011, where I am involved in immunology and molecular biology research. I received my undergraduate degree in biomedicine from Methodist University Center (IPA), analyzing gene expression in humans infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. I came to the Riley lab to work on a project titled “Human gene expression profile to identify biomarkers for active TB” that I began at the Center for Scientific and Technological Development (CDCT), my laboratory in Brazil.
Natacha Martins, PhD
During my phD, we have been collaborating with the Riley lab, using several sequencing-based typing methods to generate definitive, library typing information, about Acinetobacter strains from patients at a public university-affiliated hospital in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Information from this study described the international spread of Acinetobacter baumannii clones in Rio de Janeiro. Acinetobacter is an important pathogen associated with healthcare-acquired infections (HAI) and a cause of considerable morbidity and mortality. International A. baumannii strains that possess high levels of resistance to all main antimicrobial agents are widespread in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Based on this information, we also developed a PCR-typing method to quickly identify the dissemination of the main clones in the Brazilian hospitals. As the A. baumannii and A. nosocomialis isolates were multidrug-resistant (MDR), we also typed and investigated the gene cassettes within the integrons.
As a post-doctoral researcher now based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I am going to continue to work with MDR Acinetobacter baumannii isolates focusing on the relationship between virulence and colistin resistance. The strategies used are going to be whole-genome sequencing and animal assays to more thoroughly understand this interaction within and among the organism’s international clones prevalent in Rio de Janeiro.
Lucas Nogueira, PhD
General interest: Aims to investigate the mechanisms of resistance/susceptibility during intracellular pathogen infection
Viviane Santos de Sousa, PhD
Project: Urinary tract infection, Molecular epidemiology of Staphylococcus saprophyticus isolates in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Description: Staphylococcus saprophyticus is the second most frequently associated agent with community urinary tract infections in young and sexually active women. Work proposal: molecular characterization and investigation of clones disseminated in the community by PFGE, determination of antimicrobial susceptibility and characterization of resistance genes in Staphylococcus saprophyticus isolated from women with community urinary tract infection or colonized by this microorganism.
Biologist. PhD student at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Faculdade de Medicina, Doenças Infecciosas e Parasitárias –DIP, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. (Medical School, Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).
Priscila Lamb Wink, PhD
I arrived in Lee's laboratory as a Visiting Scholar in early 2011. The main objective of my project was to construct and characterize defined mutant strains of M. tuberculosis with gene replacement (allelic exchange) to study the importance of the iunH gene in M. tuberculosis biology.
I made the transition from academia to industry when I was hired as a research scientist for FK Biotecnologia, a biotechnology company located in Southern Brazil, in Porto Alegre-RS. I am currently working in Research & Development and focusing on the production of recombinant proteins with therapeutic and diagnostic applications on a pharmaceutic scale. The company's website: www.fkbiotec.com.br/