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Author: Donna Huber

Silvia Moreno named Distinguished Research Professor

Silvia J. Morenoa professor in the cellular biology department and director for the NIH Training Grant in Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, is recognized for her studies on calcium signaling in parasitic protozoa.

Her work defined the link between calcium signaling and pathogenesis of infectious organisms. Her research focuses on Toxoplasma gondii, a pathogen that infects one-third of the world population. She and her team discovered mechanisms of calcium signaling in parasites and novel compartments that store calcium that are different from those present in mammalian cells. Her laboratory developed new genetic tools to study calcium that could be used for high-throughput assays to find new pharmacological agents for the potential treatment of parasitic diseases.

Based on another fundamental discovery from her lab, that Toxoplasma takes specific nutrients from its host, she proposed the development of therapeutics that combine host-encoded and parasite-encoded functions as a novel approach for chemotherapy.

Anat Florentin receives 2018 Postdoctoral Research Award

Anat Florentin, a postdoctoral researcher in Vasant Muralidharan‘s laboratory at the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, studies molecular mechanisms that drive life stages of Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest of parasite species that infect humans with malaria. During her exceptionally productive years at UGA, she has advanced two related areas of research to learn more about the functions of P. falciparum gene and metabolic pathways. First, she established a highly efficient, markerless system to create mutants more rapidly using the powerful CRISPR-Cas9-based genetic editing tool. Her data from this project was published in the high-impact journal mSphere. Second, she used the CRISPR-Cas9 tool to understand P. falciparum’s unique plastid known as the apicoplast, which harbors essential metabolic pathways for the parasite’s growth and whose biological processes could be ideal parasite-specific drug targets. This work has been recognized by multiple invitations to present her work and a first author publication in Cell Reports.

Created in 2011, the Postdoctoral Research Award recognizes the remarkable contributions of postdoctoral research scholars to the UGA research enterprise. The UGA Research Foundation funds up to two awards a year to current scholars.

28th Annual Molecular Parasitology & Vector Biology Symposium


Join us on Thursday, April 26 for the 28th Annual Molecular Parasitology & Vector Biology. We are expecting 200 researchers from 19 organizations to attend this day-long conference that features 12 talks, 59 poster presentations, and a fully catered lunch. The day will conclude with a keynote address from Patricia Johnson from UCLA’s Molecular Biology Institute.


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8:15 am – Registration begins in front of Masters Hall

8:30 am – Poster set-up in Pecan Tree Galleria

9:00 am – Opening Remarks & Session I – Masters Hall

10:10 am – Break and Poster Viewing – Pecan Tree Galleria

10:50 am – Session II – Masters Hall

12:10 pm – Lunch in Ballroom & Poster viewing – Pecan Tree Galleria

1:30 pm – Session III – Masters Hall

2:30 pm – Break and Poster Viewing – Pecan Tree Galleria

3:00 pm – Session IV – Masters Hall

3:40 pm – Introduction of Keynote Speaker

View the schedule of presentations for the 28th Annual Molecular Parasitology & Vector Biology Symposium.


There is a parking deck next to the Georgia Center. Since it is Reading Day at UGA there should be plenty of space in the South Deck. However, the Carlton Street Deck is a short walk from the Georgia Center if additional parking is needed.


Speakers should receive an email with a link to a Dropbox folder to upload their presentation. Please upload your presentation before 8:00 am Thursday, April 26.

More information is available on our symposium page.

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