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  • M. Andreina Pacheco
  • Assistant Prof (Research)
  • Department of Biology
M. Andreina Pacheco
Our interests include ecology and evolutionary biology of malaria parasites and their hosts. We are applying phylogenetic and molecular clock methods to understand host switches and the radiation of major parasite groups in their vertebrate hosts, focusing on primates and birds parasites. This research provides the evolutionary blueprint to characterize putative molecular adaptations and will allow us to understand the evolution of gene encoding proteins that are considered as potential vaccine. Furthermore, it allows to better characterize the parasites genetic variation in extant populations.

Understanding the extent and dynamic of the parasite genetic variation provides information about the genetic exchange among their populations and population structure. This is critical for those investigators working on applied fields such as molecular epidemiology and conservation medicine. The parasite polymorphisms and their geographic differentiation are also issues of great basic interest because they provide information about the parasite demographic history and/or phylogeography. In addition, we are also interested in the rate and mode of evolution of the mitochondrial genome, especially in Apicomplexa parasites and their vertebrate hosts.