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Genomic analysis of Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum in placental malaria

Grant number: 22/02771-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2022
Effective date (End): August 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Parasitology - Protozoology of Parasites
Principal Investigator:Cláudio Romero Farias Marinho
Grantee:Jamille Gregório Dombrowski
Supervisor: Susana Gomes Campino
Host Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, England  
Associated to the scholarship:19/12068-5 - Identification of predictive biomarkers of placental dysfunction in Malaria, BP.PD


Malaria in pregnancy is a serious public health problem, with placental malaria being one of its serious consequences and one of the main causes of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Despite many studies, it remains unclear which peripheral blood infections during pregnancy lead to development of placental malaria. Whereas it is clear that placental parasites present a distinct phenotype from those in peripheral circulation, it is not yet known if they differ genetically. Although P. vivax burden in pregnancy is less described than P. falciparum, recent studies indicate that both species represent a threaten to mother and foetus. In fact, preliminary analysis of a prospective follow-up cohort with pregnant women conducted by us in the Amazon region revealed a clear distinct profile in placental pathology and the occurrence of a large number of infection recurrences to vivax and falciparum during pregnancy. These provided the rationale to develop a project to evaluate the genetic structure and diversity of P. vivax and P. falciparum among pregnant women from the Brazilian Amazon. Thus, we propose to study the P. vivax and P. falciparum genomics on samples isolated from pregnant women, through whole-genome sequencing on the Illumina MiSeq platform. Whole-genome sequencing technologies can contribute towards understanding the genetic diversity and structural variation landscape of Plasmodium populations, including low transmission regions such as the Amazon region. Furthermore, it will allow to identify vivax and falciparum haplotypes associated with placental malaria and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Consequently, clarifying the biological aspects of the parasite associated with gestational malaria, especially placental malaria, may contribute to outline new strategies to diagnose and treat the disease in pregnant women. (AU)

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