Dr. Veronica Jimenez Ortiz
- Role: Assistant Professor of Biological Science
- Phone: (657)-278-2477
- Department: Department of Biological Science
Role of ion channels in sensing and adaptation to environmental conditions in protozoan parasites and characterization of biophysical properties of ion channels in protozoans.
Protozoan parasites have a significant impact in global health, infecting millions of people around the word. The research in my laboratory is focused in studying the role that ion channels play in sensing and adaptation to environmental conditions in protozoan parasites like Trypanosoma cruzi, causing agent of Chagas disease, and Trypanosoma brucei, the human parasite responsible for sleeping sickness.
During its life cycle, T. cruzi, the causing agent of Chagas disease, is exposed to changing external conditions and different host. Successful transmission of the parasite depends on the ability of the cells to trigger adaptive responses and cope with stressors while regulating proliferation and transition to different life stages. Ion channels are key components of the sensing machinery in all types of cells and could play an important role in adaptive responses against environmental stressors.
Our approach integrates cellular and molecular biology, parasitology and biophysics and will welcome students with different skills and interests. Our goal is to understand the role of adaptation mechanisms for the parasite survival and infectivity and use that information for developing new therapeutic tools against tropical neglected diseases.