1st Faculty of Medicine Charles University 1st Faculty of Medicine Charles University GiardiaLab
24.09.2021

Research Interest


Our Giardia research at a glance 34

We focus on the unicellular, parasitic eukaryote Giardia intestinalis, which is responsible for a gastrointestinal disease, affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Since 2004, giardiasis has been included in the WHO's Neglected Diseases Initiative (Savioli et al. 2006). Treatment refractory giardiasis cases are increasing in prevalence, indicating the existence of so far uncovered parasite drug-resistance mechanisms.

The overall aim of our research group is to characterize Giardia genomic and organellar segregation during cell division. We are currently investigating the components of the Giardia kinetochore, a key multiprotein device assorting precise distribution of genetic material to daughter cells. Segregation errors lead in Giardia to aneuploidy, a common feature of Giardia karyotype which may contribute to drug resistance development, as shown in other parasitic protists. To investigate karyotypes and genomes of drug treatment resistant Giardia, we collected clinical isolates from cases of treatment refractory giardiasis and put our efforts toward their genetic characterization.

We also focus on cellular and organellar changes occurring during cell division of Giardia trophozoites. Together with our international collaborators we employ the state-of-the-art imaging techniques, such as focus ion-beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB/SEM) to follow (i) remodeling of Giardia adhesion structures, and (ii) segregation and biogenesisof the reduced mitochondrial organelles, so-called mitosomes, in Giardia trophozoites and cysts. For this purpose, we developed and published our own FIB/SEM methodology, suitable also for use with other unicellular eukaryotes.
Further, w
e utilized our knowledge on Giardia karyotype and together with our collaborators we work on adaptation of a CRISPR/Cas9 knock-out method for efficient gene-editing in Giardia as a promising tool for a future Giardia research.



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News

  • We congratulate our Iva and Aneta on winning the best Oral presentation and Poster presentation respectively, at the 22nd Student Scientific Conference of the First Faculty of Medicine.

  • We congratulate Iva on masterfully defending her Master thesis - "Molecular characterization and zoonotic potential of parasitic protist Giardia intestinalis populations from pets", at the Faculty of Science, Charles University.

  • A new "NanoDrop OneC Spectrophotometer" joined our ranks on January 21, and is available for usage by fellow interested parties.

  • On March 21 our team broadened by the addition of a general medicine student who is on research stay in our lab untill the coming September.