Our huge thanks to Professor Ariel Silber, from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the head of our South American HUB, who opened our online research seminar series today, introduced by Network Fellow Dr. Brian Mantilla and also to the 65 attendees who joined us! This is the first of a series of talks providing our NTD Network partners with a route to share findings and discuss ideas, in the absence of face-to-face research updates at our AGM this year. The seminars will take place on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, and are open to our NTD Network partners, their teams, and our international advisory panel members.
In today’s presentation, Ariel shared his insights into the peculiar metabolism of Trypanosoma cruzi (the cause of Chagas disease) and how the parasite’s odd biochemistry enables it to enjoy a ‘dangerous lifestyle’. This highly adaptable microbe moves between the enormously different habitats of mammalian (including human) white blood cells, and the gut and salivary glands of the ‘kissing bug’ (Triatoma spp) – an insect with a peculiar and dangerous lifestyle of its own. We heard today how trypanosome biology is consequently “…a strange world, where nothing is as it seems…”. These parasites survive their dangerous circumstances by changing their approach – just as we are now adapting how we operate in a COVID-19 context.
Today’s seminar was attended by Network members from South America, India, Pakistan, and the UK, navigating awkward time zones and tricky internet connections.
Huge thanks to all for your time, support, and enthusiastic questions! Stay well everyone, and we hope to see you again soon!