Lucía and Caterina

Participants from the Genomics and Epidemiological Surveillance of Bacterial Pathogens, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Lucía Alvarez and Caterina Guzmán Verri met in 2016, on the Genomics and Epidemiological Surveillance of Bacterial Pathogens course, held at the Malbran Institute, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Their shared interest in a disease named ‘brucellosis’, caused by members of the bacterial genus ‘Brucella’, led to a natural affinity, and a desire to collaborate together once the course was finished. In 2017 they applied for a fellowship to work together, and Lucía visited the Tropical Disease Research Programme at the Veterinary School of Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica.

“Thanks to this course we were able to meet colleagues that were working in similar topics. Learning from each other was a rewarding experience and it was the beginning of a promising collaboration”.

  1. Genomics and Epidemiological Surveillance of Bacterial Pathogens, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2016)

Here their research focused on ‘Brucellosis’ caused by Brucella ovis which of all the brucellosis, is probably the most neglected one. With less than 20 genomes available in open source databases, despite being one of the most important infectious diseases in sheep – producing loss of productivity in sheep raising farms in Argentina, as well as in parts of the Mediterranean region.

The results of their collective study were published in the “Molecular characterization of Brucella ovis in Argentina” paper. This work was the first comprehensive molecular characterization of B. ovis isolates worldwide.

To complete the published study they applied tools that Lucia has specifically learned during the Genomics and Epidemiological Surveillance of Bacterial Pathogens Advanced Course, including the use of the open data visualisation and sharing tool – ‘Microreact’.

Developing on from this research they are planning to perform some whole-genome sequencing of the isolates and characterise their genome degradation.

“ We thank Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses for the opportunity to meet, and promote scientific research in Latin America.”

The next Advanced Course in Genomics and Epidemiological Surveillance of Bacterial Pathogens will take place in Asunción, Paraguay, in April 2021.

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