Research interests

I have been working with haemosporidian parasites since my MSc studies at Lund University, Lund, Sweden using molecular, phylogenetic and statistical analyses.
Since the start of my PhD, I have gained knowledge about the life cycle of avian haemosporidians. I participated in fieldwork and collection of material that I have been analysing. My project centre on the determination and description of the exo-erythrocytic stages of the Haemoproteus parasites in their naturally infected avian hosts. The obtained data as well as the museum collections (see internships) and available literature information will be used to unravel possible phylogenetic patterns in regard of the evolution of the parasites and the pathologies they cause in internal organs of their avian host.
Aside my PhD project, I have been involved as a junior researcher in two projects on Haemoproteus vectors, Culicoides biting midges in the P. B. Šivickis Laboratory of Parasitology (P-MIP-21-76 and P-MIP-20-217). The first project centred on the identification of the vectors transmitting haemoproteids in diurnal vectors; the second project on investigating the mechanisms of transmission of avian haemoproteids – like the feeding preferences of these vectors. This work remarkably broadens my experience in Parasitology and is helpful for my PhD research to better understand haemosporidian parasite life cycles.

Annotation of the dissertation

Aim of the thesis: To investigate the tissue stages of haemoproteid parasites (Haemoproteus) and the pathologies they cause in naturally infected birds, with research on determination of possible phylogenetic patterns.

Objectives: to determine and describe the exo-erythrocytic stages of the following parasites in their naturally infected avian hosts:
– Haemoproteus majoris (genetic lineage hPHSIB1) in the wood wabler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix);
– Haemoproteus pastoris (hLMAPUR01) in the common starling (Sturnus vulgaris);
– Haemoproteus attenuatus (hROBIN1) in the European robin (Erithacus rubecula);
– Haemoproteus dumbbellus (hEMCIR01) in the yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) and Haemoproteus hirundinis (hDELURB2) in the common house martin (Delichon urbicum);
The obtained data as well as the museum collections (see internships) and available literature information will be used to unravel possible phylogenetic patterns in regard of the evolution of the parasites and the pathologies they cause in internal organs of their avian host.

Workflow:
I have been working with haemosporidian parasites since my MSc studies at Lund University, Lund, Sweden using molecular, phylogenetic and statistical analyses.
Since the start of my PhD, I have gained knowledge about the life cycle of avian haemosporidians. During my first three years of PhD, the following main activities were conducted:
• participation in fieldwork and collection of material that I have been analysing;
• participation in six international conferences where I mainly presented my PhD work on haemosporidian parasites;
• two-months internship at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria on histological procedure and chromogenic in situ hybridisation (CISH);
• obtained a competitive international grant from SYNTEHSYS+ (European Community Research Infrastructure Action under the H2020 Integrating Activities Programme) for visits at the Natural History Museum (NHM, London, United Kingdom, GB-TAF-TA4-005) and at the Musée national d’Histoire naturelle (MNHN, Paris, France, FR-TAF_Call4) to work on their haemoporidia collections.
• supervision of the final thesis of a bachelor student.
Aside my PhD project, I have been involved as a junior researcher in two projects on Haemoproteus vectors, Culicoides biting midges in the P. B. Šivickis Laboratory of Parasitology (P-MIP-21-76 and P-MIP-20-217). The first project centred on the identification of the vectors transmitting haemoproteids in diurnal vectors; the second project on investigating the mechanisms of transmission of avian haemoproteids – like the feeding preferences of these vectors. This work remarkably broadens my experience in Parasitology and is helpful for my PhD research to better understand haemosporidian parasite life cycles.
My PhD project is multidisciplinary, and the research methodology combines the following approaches:
– microscopic examination of blood and histological preparations;
– DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), electrophoresis and sequence analysis;
– phylogenetic analysis;
– histology and cytology,
– chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH).
– dissection of birds and Haemoproteus vectors (Ceratopogonidae)

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