Digital Newsletter Aug 2021

Silvia Moreno


Silvia Moreno elected American Academy of Microbiology Fellow

Trainee Spotlight

Nathan Chasen


Director’s Note

Dear Colleagues,

The beginning of the academic year always brings excitement with the return of undergraduate students and a new cohort of ILS students looking to secure rotations in CTEGD labs. Unfortunately, this fall also brings continued challenges with the rapid spread of the Delta variant and the fact that the region around Athens is considered a “high transmission” area. By now everyone is aware that USG and UGA policy is that classrooms and instruction will return to “normal” and wearing masks or getting vaccinated is not mandatory. This contrasts sharply with many other university campuses around the country where vaccinations and masking are required. I remain hopeful the USG and UGA policies will be reconsidered based upon the best available data and science. The data are clear that most of the morbidity and mortality from the recent surge of the Delta variant is in unvaccinated individuals. Those that have been vaccinated may still get and transmit the infection, but they have vastly lower chances of the more severe outcomes of COVID.

CTEGD is comprised of some of the world’s leading experts in infectious diseases as well as the next generation of scientific leaders. Even if we can’t mandate university or public policy based on the best available science, we can use the information and serve as examples to our family, friends, colleagues, students, and the community. The science shows the vaccines are both safe and effective. If you have not received a COVID vaccine, I urge you to reconsider and get vaccinated as soon as possible. You can sign up for vaccination at the University Health Center via this link.  I also believe that wearing masks indoors remains prudent and is a sign that you value public health and are willing to protect yourself, your colleagues, and your families. 

Indeed, these are challenging times; anti-science sentiment is higher than anytime I can remember in my lifetime. As infectious disease experts, what we do and how we react to emerging infectious disease threats matters, as does our efforts to communicate what we know to the lay public. Let’s all work together to do our best to stay safe this fall.

Dennis Kyle


Ronald Drew Etheridge

Serendipity leads UGA researcher into uncharted territory and a new NIH grant
Ronald Drew Etheridge, UGA assistant professor of cellular biology, was awarded a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue his gene-editing work on Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas’ disease >> Read More >>


UGA’s Rozario receives NIH Director’s New Innovator Award >> Read More >>

Silvia Moreno

Silvia Moreno elected as American Academy of Microbiology Fellow >> Read More >>

Belen Cassera

Belen Cassera named parasitology section editor for Current Clinical Microbiology Reports
>>

Ale Villegas and Vasant Muralidharan

Ph.D. candidate Ale Villegas and advisor Vasant Muralidharan receive Gilliam Graduate Fellowship Award
The goal of the fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute is to increase the diversity among scientists who are prepared to assume leadership roles in science. >> Read More >>

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Nathan Chasen is a post-doctoral fellow in Drew Etheridge's laboratory (submitted photo)

Trainee Spotlight: Nathan Chasen
>>


Mayara Bertolini has been awarded a predoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association >> Read More >>

M. Belen Cassera

Cassera named summer 2021 Innovation Fellow 
Associate professor Belen Cassera is one step closer to introducing her research to the marketplace >> Read More >>

Featured in the News

Ynes Ortega‘s work on the pathogen Cyclospora cayetanensis is featured

Vegetable Growers News
Produce Processing
Food Safety News

Michael Strand

Entomology professor Michael Strand is quoted in the Science article “Deadly viruses help moths and butterflies fight off parasitic wasps.”


Barbara and Sanford Orkin – GRA Eminent Scholar Roberto Docampo and colleagues wrote an editorial on “Pyrophosphates and Polyphosphates in Plants and Microorganisms” which appeared in Frontiers in Plant Science.


Belen Cassera discusses the development of new drugs to treat and prevent malaria, one of the deadliest diseases afflicting humankind.

Dennis Kyle talks about a deadly disease caused by Naegleria fowleri, also known as the brain-eating amoeba.

Now Hiring!
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Congratulations, Trainees

Josh Butler from Belen Cassera’s laboratory completed his Ph.D. and is now a Field Applications Scientist at Sartorius.

Jessica Ramadhin from Don Harn’s laboratory completed her Ph.D. and is now a post-doctoral associate at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

Justin Wiedeman from Kojo Mensa-Wilmot’s laboratory completed his Ph.D. and has joined Drew Etheridge’s laboratory as a post-doctoral associate.

Amrita Sharma, also from Kojo Mensa-Wilmot’s laboratory, completed her Ph.D.

Ruby Harrison from the laboratories of Mark Brown and Mike Strand has completed her Ph.D. and has joined Drew Etheridge’s laboratory as a T32 post-doctoral fellow.

Michael Ciprano from Steve Hajduk’s laboratory has completed his post-doctoral training and is now a Bioinformatics Scientist at Leidos.

Support CTEGD
New Projects Funded

Silvia MorenoElements of the Ca2+ signal transduction pathway of Toxoplasma gondii
National Institutes of Health, Silvia Moreno

“Our studies will likely lead to the discovery of new essential elements of the Calcium signaling toolkit of Toxoplasma gondii that could be future targets for chemotherapy.”

Roberto DocampoPiezo channels and calcium signaling in Trypanosoma cruzi
National Institutes of Health, Roberto Docampo

“Our hypothesis is that Piezo channels functions have lineage specific characteristics, which are different from those of mammalian cells and that our studies will lead to new insights into the T. cruzi biology and the potential identification of new targets.”

Dr. Chet JoynerProduction of P. cynomogli strains to support discovery targeting vivax malaria
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Chet Joyner

Long Lasting Drug Implants for Malaria Chemoprophylaxis 
Zymeron Corporation, Chet Joyner

Stephen HajdukOptimization and Mode of Action of NEU4438, a Lead Trypanocidal Drug
NIH/Kennesaw State University Research and Service Foundation, Steve Hajduk

“This proposal outlines a medicinal chemistry optimization project that will deliver lead compounds for new HAT therapeutics, as well as an understanding of the mechanism of action of the leads.”

The Shaping of life by oxygen: from single cell to multicellular dynamics
Human Frontier Science, Chris West


Anti-Malarial Drug Leads from Fungal Cutlures
NIH/University of North Carolina Greensboro, Dennis Kyle

Recent Publications

Roberto DocampoDifferent Sensitivity of Control and MICU1- and MICU2-Ablated Trypanosoma cruzi Mitochondrial Calcium Uniporter Complex to Ruthenium-Based Inhibitors
Mayara S Bertolini, Roberto Docampo. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(23):E9316. doi: 10.3390/ijms21239316.

Affinity‐based proteomics reveals novel targets of inositol pyrophosphate (5‐IP7)‐dependent phosphorylation and binding in Trypanosoma cruzi replicative stages
Brian S Mantilla, Karunakaran Kalesh, Nathaniel W Brown Jr, Dorothea Fiedler, Roberto Docampo. Mol Microbiol. 2020 Dec 22. doi: 10.1111/mmi.14672.

The IP 3 receptor and Ca2+ signaling in trypanosomes
Roberto Docampo, Guozhong Huang. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res. 2021 Jan 6;118947. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2021.118947

The Inositol Pyrophosphate Biosynthetic Pathway of Trypanosoma cruzi
Brian S Mantilla, Leticia D Do Amaral, Henning J Jessen, Roberto Docampo. ACS Chem Biol. 2021 Jan 7. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.0c00759

Deletion of a Golgi protein in Trypanosoma cruzi reveals a critical role for Mn2+ in protein glycosylation needed for host cell invasion and intracellular replication
Ramakrishnan S, Unger LM, Baptista RP, Cruz-Bustos T, Docampo R (2021). PLoS Pathog 17(3): e1009399.

Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier Subunits Are Essential for Pyruvate-Driven Respiration, Infectivity, and Intracellular Replication of Trypanosoma cruzi
Raquel S. Negreiros, Noelia Lander, Miguel A. Chiurillo, Anibal E. Vercesi, Roberto Docampo. mBio Apr 2021, 12 (2) e00540-21; DOI: 10.1128/mBio.00540-21

TbVps41 regulates trafficking of endocytic but not biosynthetic cargo to lysosomes of bloodstream forms of Trypanosoma brucei
Srinivasan Ramakrishnan, Rodrigo P Baptista, Beejan Asady, Guozhong Huang, Roberto Docampo. FASEB J. 2021 Jun;35(6):e21641. doi: 10.1096/fj.202100487R

Trypanosoma cruzi Letm1 is involved in mitochondrial Ca2+ transport, and is essential for replication, differentiation, and host cell invasion
Guilherme Rodrigo Rm Dos Santos, Ana Catarina Rezende Leite, Noelia Lander, Miguel Angel Chiurillo, Aníbal Eugênio Vercesi, Roberto Docampo. FASEB J. 2021 Jul;35(7):e21685. doi: 10.1096/fj.202100120RR

Mitochondrial Ca2+ and Reactive Oxygen Species in Trypanosomatids
Roberto Docampo, Anibal Eugênio Vercesi. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2021 Jul 4. doi: 10.1089/ars.2021.0058.

Evolution of the monitoring and evaluation strategies to support the World Health Organization’s Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis 
Patrick J Lammie, Katherine M Gass, Jonathan King, Michael S Deming, David G Addiss, Gautam Biswas, Eric A Ottesen, Ralph Henderson. International Health, Volume 13, Issue Supplement_1, January 2021, Pages S65–S70,

Baseline Mapping of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Africa: The Accelerated WHO/AFRO Mapping Project
Maria P Rebollo, Adiele Nkasiobi Onyeze, Alexandre Tiendrebeogo, Mutale Nsakashalo Senkwe, Benido Impouma, Kisito Ogoussan, Honorat G M Zouré, Kebede Deribe, Jorge Cano, Ekoue Boniface Kinvi, Andrew Majewski, Eric A Ottesen, Patrick Lammie. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2021 Apr 26;tpmd201538. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.20-1538

Analysis of Long Non-Coding RNA in Cryptosporidium parvum Reveals Significant Stage-Specific Antisense Transcription
Yiran Li, Rodrigo P. Baptista, Adam Sateriale, Boris Striepen and Jessica C. Kissinger. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2021 Jan 14;10:608298. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2020.608298. eCollection 2020.

A novel fragmented mitochondrial genome in the protist pathogen Toxoplasma gondii and related tissue coccidia
Sivaranjani Namasivayam, Rodrigo P Baptista, Wenyuan Xiao, Erica M Hall, Joseph S Doggett, Karin Troell, Jessica C Kissinger. Genome Res. 2021 May;31(5):852-865. doi: 10.1101/gr.266403.120.

Challenges for Cryptosporidium Population Studies
Baptista, Rodrigo P.; Cooper, Garrett W.; Kissinger, Jessica C. 2021. Genes 12, no. 6: 894.

RGS10 physically and functionally interacts with STIM2 and requires store-operated calcium entry to regulate proinflammatory gene expression in microglia
Menbere Wendimu, Mohammed Alqinyah, Stephen Vella, Phillip Dean, Faris Almutairi, Roseanne Davila Rivera, Shima Rayatpisheh, James Wohlschlegel, Silvia Moreno, Shelley B Hooks. Cell Signal. 2021 Mar 8;109974. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2021.109974

The role of potassium and host calcium signaling in Toxoplasma gondii egress
Stephen A Vella, Christina A Moore, Zhu-Hong Li, Miryam A Hortua Triana, Evgeniy Potapenko, Silvia N J Moreno. Cell Calcium. 2021 Jan 19;94:102337. doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2020.102337

Calcium signaling through a Transient Receptor Channel is important for Toxoplasma gondii growth
Karla Marie Marquez-Nogueras, Myriam Andrea Hortua Triana, Nathan M Chasen, Ivana Y Kuo, Silvia NJ Moreno. Elife. 2021 Jun 9;10:e63417. doi: 10.7554/eLife.63417.


Strain-specific genome evolution in Trypanosoma cruzi, the agent of Chagas disease
Wang W, Peng D, Baptista RP, Li Y, Kissinger JC, Tarleton RL (2021) Strain-specific genome evolution in Trypanosoma cruzi, the agent of Chagas disease. PLoS Pathog 17(1): e1009254.


Vasant Muralidharan

Some conditions apply: Systems for studying Plasmodium falciparum protein function
Heather M Kudyba, David W Cobb, Joel Vega-Rodríguez, Vasant Muralidharan. PLoS Pathog. 2021 Apr 22;17(4):e1009442. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1009442. eCollection 2021 Apr.

A redox-active crosslinker reveals an essential and inhibitable oxidative folding network in the endoplasmic reticulum of malaria parasites
David W. Cobb, Heather M. Kudyba, Alejandra Villegas, Michael R. Hoopmann, Rodrigo P. Baptista, Baylee Bruton, Michelle Krakowiak, Robert L. Moritz, Vasant Muralidharan. PLoS Pathog. 2021 Feb 3;17(2):e1009293. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1009293.

Michael StrandMdBVe46 is an envelope protein that is required for virion formation by Microplitis demolitor bracovirus
Michael J Arvin, Ange Lorenzi, Gaelen R Burke, Michael R Strand. J Gen Virol. 2021 Feb 16. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.001565.

Toll9 from Bombyx mori functions as a pattern recognition receptor that shares features with Toll-like receptor 4 from mammals
Ruonan Zhang, Xiaofeng Li, Jie Zhang, Yanjun Li, Yuan Wang, Yuhang Song, Feifei Ren, Huiyu Yi, Xiaojuan Deng, Yangjin Zhong, Yang Cao, Michael R Strand, Xiao-Qiang Yu, Wanying Yang. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 May 11;118(19):e2103021118. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2103021118.

Diet-Microbiota Interactions Alter Mosquito Development
Vincent G Martinson, Michael R Strand. Front Microbiol. 2021 Jun 8;12:650743. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.650743. eCollection 2021.

Strand and BrownRiboflavin instability is a key factor underlying the requirement of a gut microbiota for mosquito development
Yin Wang, Jai Hoon Eum, Ruby E. Harrison, Luca Valzania, Xiushuai Yang, Jena A. Johnson, Derek T. Huck, Mark R. Brown, Michael R. Strand Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Apr 2021, 118 (15) e2101080118; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2101080118

Whole blood and blood components from vertebrates differentially affect egg formation in three species of anautogenous mosquitoes
Harrison, R.E., Brown, M.R. & Strand, M.R. Whole blood and blood components from vertebrates differentially affect egg formation in three species of anautogenous mosquitoes. Parasites Vectors 14, 119 (2021).

Rick TarletonReduced Trypanosoma cruzi-specific humoral response and enhanced T cell immunity after treatment interruption with benznidazole in chronic Chagas disease
Melisa D Castro Eiro, María A Natale, María G Alvarez, Huifeng Shen, Rodolfo Viotti, Bruno Lococo, Jacqueline Bua, Myriam Nuñez, Graciela L Bertocchi, María C Albareda, Gonzalo Cesar, Rick L Tarleton, Susana A Laucella. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2021 Mar 7;dkab054. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkab054

High variation in immune responses and parasite phenotypes in naturally acquired Trypanosoma cruzi infection in a captive non-human primate breeding colony in Texas, USA
Padilla AM, Yao PY, Landry TJ, Cooley GM, Mahaney SM, Ribeiro I, VandeBerg JL. Tarleton RL. (2021). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 15(3): e0009141.

Immune exhaustion in chronic Chagas disease: Pro-inflammatory and immunomodulatory action of IL-27 in vitro
María Ailén Natale, Todd Minning, María Cecilia Albareda, Melisa Daiana Castro Eiro, María Gabriela Álvarez, Bruno Lococo, Gonzalo Cesar, Graciela Bertocchi, María Josefina Elias, María Belén Caputo, Rick L Tarleton, Susana Adriana Laucella. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2021 Jun 1;15(6):e0009473. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0009473.

Belen Cassera


Lysosomal cholesterol accumulation contributes to the movement phenotypes associated with NUS1 haploinsufficiency
Seok-Ho Yu, Tong Wang, Kali Wiggins, Raymond J. Louie, Emilio F. Merino, Cindy Skinner, Maria B. Cassera, Kirsten Meagher, Paul Goldberg, Neggy Rismanchi, Dillon Chen, Michael J. Lyons, Heather Flanagan-Steet & Richard Steet. Genet Med. 2021 Mar 17. doi: 10.1038/s41436-021-01137-6.


Naegleria fowleri: Protein structures to facilitate drug discovery for the deadly, pathogenic free-living amoeba
Logan Tillery, Kayleigh Barrett, Jenna Goldstein, Jared W Lassner, Bram Osterhout, Nathan L Tran, Lily Xu, Ryan M Young, Justin Craig, Ian Chun, David M Dranow, Jan Abendroth, Silvia L Delker, Douglas R Davies, Stephen J Mayclin, Brandy Calhoun, Madison J Bolejack, Bart Staker, Sandhya Subramanian, Isabelle Phan, Donald D Lorimer, Peter J Myler, Thomas E Edwards, Dennis E Kyle, Christopher A Rice, James C Morris, James W Leahy, Roman Manetsch, Lynn K Barrett, Craig L Smith, Wesley C Van Voorhis (2021). PLoS ONE 16(3): e0241738.

Synthesis of Mono- and Bisperoxide-Bridged Artemisinin Dimers to Elucidate the Contribution of Dimerization to Antimalarial Activity
Cynthia L Lichorowic, Yingzhao Zhao, Steven P Maher, Vivian Padín-Irizarry, Victoria C Mendiola, Sagan T de Castro, Jacob A Worden, Debora Casandra, Dennis E Kyle, Roman Manetsch. ACS Infect Dis. 2021 Apr 1. doi: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.1c00066

EdU incorporation to assess cell proliferation and drug susceptibility in Naegleria fowleri
Emma V. Troth, Dennis E. Kyle. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy Apr 2021, AAC.00017-21; DOI: 10.1128/AAC.00017-21

Aminoalkoxycarbonyloxymethyl Ether Prodrugs with a pH-Triggered Release Mechanism: A Case Study Improving the Solubility, Bioavailability, and Efficacy of Antimalarial 4(1 H)-Quinolones with Single Dose Cures
Andrii Monastyrskyi, Fabian Brockmeyer, Alexis N LaCrue, Yingzhao Zhao, Steven P Maher, Jordany R Maignan, Vivian Padin-Irizarry, Yana I Sakhno, Prakash T Parvatkar, Ami H Asakawa, Lili Huang, Debora Casandra, Sherwin Mashkouri, Dennis E Kyle, Roman Manetsch. J Med Chem. 2021 May 12. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.0c01104.

Characterization of the Tubovesicular Network in Plasmodium vivax Liver Stage Hypnozoites and Schizonts
Kayla Sylvester, Steven P Maher, Dora Posfai, Michael K Tran, McKenna C Crawford, Amélie Vantaux, Benoît Witkowski, Dennis E Kyle, Emily R Derbyshire. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2021 Jun 14;11:687019. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2021.687019. eCollection 2021


Ca2+ entry at the plasma membrane and uptake by acidic stores is regulated by the activity of the V‐H+‐ATPase in Toxoplasma gondii
Andrew J Stasic, Eric J Dykes, Ciro D Cordeiro, Stephen A Vella, Mojtaba S Fazli, Shannon Quinn, Roberto Docampo, Silvia N J Moreno. Mol Microbiol. 2021 Apr 1. doi: 10.1111/mmi.14722


Dan Colley


Estimating true prevalence of Schistosoma mansoni from population summary measures based on the Kato-Katz diagnostic technique
Bärenbold O, Garba A, Colley DG, Fleming FM, Assaré RK, Tukahebwa EM, et al. (2021). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 15(4): e0009310.




Survival of Salmonella and Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli and Changes in Indigenous Microbiota During Fermentation of Kombucha Made from Home-brewing Kits
Sheridan S. Brewer, Courtney A. Lowe, Larry R. Beuchat, Ynes R. Ortega; Survival of Salmonella and Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli and Changes in Indigenous Microbiota During Fermentation of Kombucha Made from Home-brewing Kits. J Food Prot 2021; doi:


University of Georgia Professor and Department Head, Cellular Biology


Casein kinase TbCK1.2 regulates division of kinetoplast DNA, and movement of basal bodies in the African trypanosome
Catherine Sullenberger, Benjamin Hoffman, Justin Wiedeman, Gaurav Kumar, Kojo Mensa-Wilmot. PLoS One. 2021 Apr 16;16(4):e0249908. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0249908.


Don HarnLacto-N-fucopentaose-III (LNFPIII) ameliorates acute aberrations in hippocampal synaptic transmission in a Gulf War Illness animal model
Kyle A Brown, Collin J Preston, Jessica M Carpenter, Helaina D Ludwig, Thomas Norberg, Donald A Harn, Nikolay M Filipov, John J Wagner. Brain Res. 2021 May 4;147513. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2021.147513.

A Comparison of Two Structurally Related Human Milk Oligosaccharide Conjugates in a Model of Diet-Induced Obesity
Jessica Ramadhin, Vanessa Silva-Moraes, Tamas Nagy, Thomas Norberg, Donald Harn. Front Immunol. 2021 May 20;12:668217. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.668217

Lacto-N-fucopentaose-III ameliorates acute and persisting hippocampal synaptic plasticity and transmission deficits in a Gulf War Illness mouse model
Kyle A Brown, Jessica M Carpenter, Collin J Preston, Helaina D Ludwig, Kendall B Clay, Donald A Harn, Thomas Norberg, John J Wagner, Nikolay M Filipov. Life Sci. 2021 Jun 5;119707. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2021.119707

Delayed treatment with the immunotherapeutic LNFPIII ameliorates multiple neurological deficits in a pesticide-nerve agent prophylactic mouse model of Gulf War Illness
Jessica M Carpenter, Kyle A Brown, Alexa N Diaz, Rachel L Dockman, Robert A Benbow, Donald A Harn, Thomas Norberg, John J Wagner, Nikolay M Filipov. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2021 Jul 10;107012. doi: 10.1016/

Stephen Hajduk


Turnover of Variant Surface Glycoprotein in Trypanosoma brucei Is a Bimodal Process
Paige Garrison, Umaer Khan, Michael Cipriano, Peter J Bush, Jacquelyn McDonald, Aakash Sur, Peter J Myler, Terry K Smith, Stephen L Hajduk, James D Bangs. mBio. 2021 Jul 27;e0172521. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01725-21.


Donald Champagne


Defense-Related Gene Expression Following an Orthotospovirus Infection Is Influenced by Host Resistance in Arachis hypogaea
Michael A Catto, Anita Shrestha, Mark R Abney, Donald E Champagne, Albert K Culbreath, Soraya C M Leal-Bertioli, Brendan G Hunt, Rajagopalbabu Srinivasan. Viruses. 2021 Jul 5;13(7):1303. doi: 10.3390/v13071303.