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Sara Andreia de Barros Costa Marques

Sara Andreia de Barros Costa Marques

Post-Doc Researcher

Post-Doc Researcher
Member type
CIBIO-InBIO, Universidade do Porto, Campus de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal

I graduated as a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine at Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas de Abel Salazar (ICBAS) from University of Porto (UP) on 2004. I joined the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases of the Department of Veterinary Clinics at ICBAS-UP on 2002 until now to perform research and teaching activities. 

I completed my PhD in Veterinary Sciences in 2011 at ICBAS-UP. Currently, I am a postdoctoral researcher at CIBIO-InBIO, and my main research interests are infectious diseases, zoonosis, microbiology, molecular biology, phylogenetic, proteomics, virology and toxicity assays. 

The major focus of my research is the study of infections by microalgae on dairy cows. Members of the genus Prototheca are unicellular, achlorophyllic algae that are the only plant-like organisms that cause infection in humans and animals. In animals the most prevalent form of protothecosis is bovine mastitis that is gaining more importance to milk industry and public health. 

Thus, I am interested on the establishment of new molecular methods for Prototheca identification and typing to determine their genetic diversity at the herd level. The ITS region presents more variability than the 18S rDNA that is generally used for species identification. Therefore, the usage of ITS will allow an improved geographical comparison and faster identification of Prototheca subtypes. 

Since very limited information exists on the treatment of protothecosis and this alga is extremely resistant against the most common antimicrobial drugs, I am also interested on understanding the pathogenic mechanisms of protothecosis. The identification and characterization of Prototheca virulence markers is crucial to develop and suggest therapeutic models on animal and human health. Some preliminary investigation allowed the identification of cellular immunogenic factors. Thus, I am interested in analyzing the toxicity of Prototheca or the secreted factors on different alternative toxicity models.

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