Mayara Bertolini, a third year PhD student in the laboratory of Dr. Roberto Docampo, has been awarded a predoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association. She investigates the mitochondrial calcium uniporter complex of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent of Chagas disease.
“T. cruzi is one of the least well understood neglected tropical disease agents and current treatments remain inadequate partly due to a general lack of knowledge of this parasite’s basic biology,” says Bertolini. “Understanding the mechanisms of adaptation and survival of the parasite upon environmental challenges, such as changes in concentration of free Ca2+, will lead to important insights into the biology of this parasite and the evolution of Ca2+ signaling in eukaryotic cells.”