Dr. Igor Cestari
Assistant Professor, Institute of Parasitology
Associate Member, Department of Medicine, Division of Experimental Medicine
Our laboratory is interested in the molecular mechanisms by which pathogens evade the host immune system to establish infection, and in the development of therapeutic approaches such as drugs and vaccine discovery. We have two main research programs:
1) Phosphoinositide signalling and regulation of antigenic variation: We are interested in the molecular mechanisms that control the expression of genes encoding variant surface antigens that are essential for host immune evasion in trypanosome parasites. We focus on the role of phosphoinositide signalling in the regulation of surface antigen genes expression and switching. We also study a telomeric protein complex that functions in chromatin organization and silencing and transcription of these immune evasion genes.
2) Drug and vaccine development for Chagas disease: We combine chemical biology and genetic approaches such as CRISPR/Cas9 to identify new drug targets in Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease. We also work on the discovery of epitopes for vaccine development against Chagas disease using yeast surface display and other genomic approaches.
- Phosphoinositide signaling and regulation of immune evasion genes in trypanosome pathogens
- Transcriptional control of telomeric expression sites and antigenic variation in trypanosomes
- Discovery of epitope candidates for Chagas disease vaccine