Image by National Cancer Institute

About Us

Learn about the laboratories and scientists involved in this project!

 

Why this project?

Fungi are an increasing source of human and animal infections, with many of them hard to treat due to the emergence of resistant fungi. Based on the collective experience of the Latin American Medical Mycology Network (LAMMN) in environmental studies and antifungal testing and the global emergence of citizen-science research, a two-level survey of environmental azole-resistant Aspergillus fumigatus strains was proposed. This encompasses a broad community participation at the first level to collect A. fumigatus in the environment, followed, at the second level, by a detailed azole screening and georeferenced relatedness analysis of the fungal strains found.

 

Of note, A. fumigatus is one of the most frequent filamentous fungi present in the environment around us, which can be responsible for plant and human diseases, some of them are life-threatening due to azole resistance. Azoles are a class of antifungal drugs, some of them commonly used to treat patients, while a variety of others are largely used as a pesticide in the agricultural setting. Thus, the knowledge of the frequency of azole-resistant A. fumigatus in the environment can help scientists, public health specialists and physicians to respond quickly and choose better antifungal treatments for patients infected by this fungus and help governments to make policies to better control the use of these drugs in the agricultural setting.

The Countries

This project is an initiative of the Latin American Medical Mycology Network (LAMMN), a collaboration between 26 laboratories from 12 different countries around Latin America, in addition to research groups from Australia and France, with the goal of investigating the impact of widespread use of azole class antifungals in both medical and agricultural application on azole-resistance in fungi, particularly A. fumigatus

Explore the map and click on the flags to see participating research groups, institutes and universities!

Latin America Map (Clear).png
Venezuela Flag.jpg

Venezuela

Mexico Flag.png

Mexico

Guatemala Flag.jpg

Guatemala

Costa Rica Flag.png

Costa Rica

Colombia Flag.jpg

Colombia

Ecuador Flag.png

Ecuador

Peru Flag.jpg

Peru

Chile Flag.png

Chile

Argentina Flag.jpg

Argentina

Uruguay Flag.png

Uruguay

Brazil Flag.png

Brazil

Paraguay Flag.png

Paraguay

Australia Flag.png

Australia

Australia (Yellow Clear).png
France (Red Clear).png
France Flag.png

France

 

Project Objectives

  1. To evaluate the presence of azole-resistant A. fumigatus isolates in air samples in Latin America.

  2. To assess the presence of mutations in the Cyp51A gene of azole-resistant A. fumigatus isolates.

  3. To compare the genetic relationship between resistant strains found in the air of different countries of Latin America.

  4. To evaluate the relationship between the use of azole agricultural fungicides and the presence of azole-resistant A. fumigatus isolates.

  5. To establish a network in Latin America for resistance monitoring of Aspergillus and other studies that can be carried out afterward.

Diamantina.jpg
Rio.jpg

Phase 1
Sampling and Citizen Science

For Phase 1 of the project, we will conduct an air sampling campaign using a citizen science approach, coordinated by 26 laboratories in Latin America including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

  1. Citizen scientists will be recruited by a social media campaign.

  2. Participants will be selected to represent high and low agriculture use areas.

  3. Air sampling will be performed four times between 2022 and 2023, e.g., March, June, September, and December.

  4. Air sampling will be performed at the same site in all sampling events.

  5. The citizen scientists will receive two air samplers (e.g., sticky plastic strips), which should be securely placed outside for at least 10 hours and then returned to the reference laboratory by prepaid envelopes.

  6. All necessary materials for air sampling, including their shipment to the reference laboratories, will be supplied via the 26 coordinating laboratories, meaning the citizen scientists will have no expense when participating in the project.

  7. Participation is voluntarily and without financial compensation.

  8. Citizen scientists who are interested in participating in the Latin America wide project, will need to register via the questionnaire provided on the project webpage, through which they can obtain information regarding the samples they have taken 4 times over one year, including: positivity for A. fumigatus.

Phase 2
A. fumigatus identification and antifungal testing

For Phase 2, four reference laboratories (located in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico) will perform the A. fumigatus isolation, identification, azole resistance screening, and CYP51A mutation screening.

A detailed antifungal susceptibility test for the suspected azole-resistant A. fumigatus strains identified in azole resistance screening will be carried out at two reference laboratories in Brazil.

In addition, a genetic analysis (microsatellite) will be performed with the isolates carrying the same CYP51A mutation after screening, followed by a georeferencing relatedness analysis of those isolates in two laboratories in Brazil in collaboration with an Australian laboratory and in Colombia in collaboration with a French laboratory

PlayadeMazunte.jpg
Principle Investigators
Image by Artur Łuczka

Professor
Wieland Meyer

Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ), Brazil

University of Sydney (USYD)/Curtin University, Australia

WMeyer.jpg

Leader of the Molecular Mycology Research Laboratory (MMRL), Prof. Meyer's research focuses on the evolution, phylogeny, speciation, population genetics, fungal genomics, molecular epidemiology, strain typing of clinically significant fungi with the goal of developing  fast, simple, and reliable molecular identification techniques for the diagnosis of fungal infections in humans as well as supporting public health responses to newly emerging pathogenic fungi and outbreaks.  

Molecular Mycology Research Laboratory

https://www.mycologylab.org/

Image by Artur Łuczka

Professor
Marcia Melhem

Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul (UFMS), Brazil

Instituto Adolfo Lutz (IAL), Brazil

MMelhem.jpg

Specialist in pharmaceutical-biochemistry that works in the study of fungi, their diversity, their habitat, the plasticity they have to adapt and survive under different conditions, and in humans and other animals, where they can cause various mycoses in mild or very severe and fatal forms.

 

Instituto Adolfo Lutz – Núcleo de Micologia

http://www.ial.sp.gov.br/ial/centros-tecnicos/centro-de-parasitologia-e-micologia/equipe-tecnica

 

Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul- Faculdade de Medicina-Laboratório de Doneças Infecciosas e Parasitárias

https://famed.ufms.br/labdip/

Image by Artur Łuczka

Professor
Luciana Trilles

Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ), Brazil

LTrilles.jpeg

Curator of the Pathogenic Fungi Culture Collection at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (INI). She is biologist, specialist in medical mycology, and her research focuses on the diagnosis and epidemiology of invasive fungal infections, and the ecology and diversity of their agents.

 

Pathogenic Fungi Culture Collection (CFP)

http://cfp.fiocruz.br/

 

Mycology Laboratory/INI

https://www.ini.fiocruz.br/micologia.html

Image by Artur Łuczka

Professor
Claudia M. Parra-Giraldo

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (PUJ), Bogota, Colombia

CGiraldo.jpeg

Prof. Claudia Parra is currently an associate professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (PUJ). She has an undergraduate degree as a clinical laboratory technician (Bacteriologist) and a Master's degree in Microbiology with an emphasis on immunology, from the PUJ and PhD from the Complutense University of Madrid (2013). She is the founder and coordinator of the Human Proteomics and Mycoses research group (2014) which investigates the epidemiology and clinical diagnosis of invasive fungal infections, with particular focus on Candida, Aspergillus and Cryptocccus.

Infectious Diseases Research Group - Human Proteomics and Mycoses Research Unit

https://www.javeriana.edu.co/investigacion/semillero-de-enfermedades-infecciosas

Image by Artur Łuczka

Associate Professor
Plinio Trabasso

University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas

PTrabasso.jpeg

Associate Professor at the School of Medicine, UNICAMP. He has experience in the area of ​Medicine with an emphasis in Infectious Diseases and Molecular Biology.  He has served as the Medical Director of the General Hospital at UNICAMP from 2014 to 2018 and as Deputy Director from 2018 to 2021. Currently he serves Faculty Adviser in the University General Coordination of UNICAMP. The main fields of his research are Hospital Epidemiology; Antimicrobial Stewardship, Multi-Drug Resistant Organisms; Infections in Immunocompromised Hosts, Fungal Infections, and Molecular Biology.

See his publications at:

ORCID: 0000-0002-0588-4859

Image by Artur Łuczka

Professor
Maria Luiza Moretti

University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campnias

MMoretti.jpg

Professor of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, UNICAMP. Vice president of the University of Campinas (2021-2024). She works in several research fields, such as, medical infectious diseases with focus on hospital epidemiology, medical mycology, antimicrobial stewardship. She has experience in conducting international research groups in the field of medical mycology. She has experience in working on hospital and community acquired epidemics, including the leadership of controlling programs to minimize the effects of the transmission of microorganism and the diseases. She is the director of the Laboratory of Hospital Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases of the Medical School. Recently, she has worked actively in the COVID 19 epidemic at UNICAMP, leading and managing the COVID 19 program in the health care area and for the all the staff members of UNICAMP.

Image by Artur Łuczka

Doctor
Beatriz Bustamante

Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH), Lima, Peru

BBustamante.jpg

Medical specialist in infectious diseases with experience in infections caused by fungi, and special interest in endemic mycoses in Peru, the resistance of fungal isolates to antifungals and in improving the knowledge of these diseases for health personnel.  Dr Bustamante currently works as an assistant physician at the Cayetano Heredia Hospital and as a coordinator at the clinical mycology laboratory at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute of Tropical Medicine at the Cayetano Heredia Peruvian University. 

Her working group is made up of: MSc. Edgar Neyra, Tec. Med Susy Aranibar, Tec. Lab. Rosario Velando y Tec Lab. Elena Grigoletto.

https://investigacion.cayetano.edu.pe/catalogo/saludintegral/lmc

Image by Artur Łuczka

Professor
Laura Castañón-Olivera

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM), Mexico City, Mexico

LCastanon_edited_edited.jpg

After completing a Master of Tropical Medicine from the Instituto de Medicina Tropical Pedro Kourí in Cuba and a Doctorate in Sciences from UNAM, Prof. Castañón joined the Mycology Unit at the Faculty of Medicine at UNAM. Her research focuses on cryptococcosis epidemiology, distribution and frequency of coccidioidomycosis, and intra-hospital fungal infections in Mexico.

The Laboratories and Teams
Argentina
UniBueonosAires.png

University of Buenos Aires

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Noma Beatriz Fernandez

UniNordeste.jpg

Universidade National del Nordeste

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Gustavo Giusiano

Brazil
Picture 1.png

University of Campinas (UNICAMP)

Laboratory Role:

Clinical Strain Collection

Strain Identification

Antifungal resistant mutation detection

Researchers:

Maria Luiza Moretti

Silviane Duarte Rodrigues

Plinio Trabasso

Larissa Ortolan Levy

Cibele Aparecida Tararam

Vanderlei Braga

Marcelos Campos Albieri

Fiocruz.jpg

Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ)

Laboratory Role:

Strain Identification

Genotyping

Researchers:

Luciana Trilles

Wieland Meyer

brasa--o_da_uespi.png

Universidade Estadual do Piauí

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Liline Maria Soares Martins

UFMS.png

Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul (UFMS)

 

Laboratory Role:

MIC Determination

Researchers:

Marcia Melhem

James Venturini

UFTM.png

Universidade Federal do Triangulo Mineiro (UFTM)

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Mario Leon Silva Vergara

Kennio Ferreira Paim

INSTITUTOFiocruz.jpg

Instituto Adolfo Lutz

Laboratory Role:

MIC Determination

Researchers:

Marcia Melhem

Lucas Xavier Bonfietti

Juliana Possatto Fernandes Takahashi

UniPIAUI.png

Universidade Federal do Piauí

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Liline Maria Soares Martins

Chile
UniChile.png

Universidad de Chile

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Eduardo Andres Alvarez Duarte

UniAustraldeChile.png

Universidad Austral de Chile

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Patricio Godoy

Colombia
UniJaveriana.png

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (PUJ)

Laboratory Role:

Strain Identification

Environmental Sampling

Genotyping

Researchers:

Claudia M. Parra-Giraldo

UniRosario.png

Universidad del Rosario

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Sandra Carolina Firacative Ropero

Beatiz Lucia Gomez-Giraldo

UniDeColombia.png

Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Carlos Alvarez-Moreno

UniMetropolitana.jpg

Universidad Metropolitana Barranquilla

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Maria Clara Noguera Angarita

InstitutoSalud.jpg

Instituto Nacional de Salud

Laboratory Role:

Project Advisory

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Elizabeth Castañeda

Costa Rica
UniCostaRica.jpg

Universidad de Costa Rica

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Norma Teresa Gross

Daniela Jaikel-Viquez

Ecuador
PUCE.png

Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Lucia Jeannete Zurita-Salinas

Andrea Lopez

Guatemala
CarolinaAcademia.jpg

Universidad de San Carlos

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Anneliese Moller Sundfeldt

Blanca Samayoa Herrera

Mexico
UniMexico.png

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

Laboratory Role:

Clinical Strain Collection

Strain Identification

MIC Determination

Researchers:

Laura Castañón-Olivera

Edith Sanchez-Paredes

Carolina Segundo-Zaragoza

UniNuevoleon.jpg

Universidad Autonoma de Noevo Leon

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Gloria Maria Gonzales-Gonzalez

Paraguay
IRIS.jpg

Instituto Regional de Investigacion en Salud

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Gladys Mercedes Estigarriba-Sanabria

Peru

Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia

Laboratory Role:

Strain Identification

MIC Determination

Clinical Strain Collection

Researchers:

Beatriz Bustamante

Edgar Neyra

Uruguay
MinisteriodeSalud.jpg

Ministerio de Salud

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Andres Puime

Venezuela
InstitutoRafael.jpg

Instituto Rafael Rangel

Laboratory Role:

Citizen Science Sample Collection

Researchers:

Maribel Dolante

Victor Alarcon Fernandez

Australia
USYD.png

University of Sydney

Laboratory Role:

Administration

Genotyping

Researchers:

Wieland Meyer

CurtinUni.png

Curtin University

Laboratory Role:

Administration

Genotyping

Researchers:

Wieland Meyer

France
UniDeNantes.jpg

Université de Nantes

Laboratory Role:

Genotyping

Researchers:

Patrice P LePape

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This project is funded by:
U.S. Centers for Diseases Control  & Prevention, Antimicrobial Resistance Solution Initiative
Administration by:
Fundação de Desenvolvimento da Unicamp (FUNCAMP)
FUNICAMP.png

FUNCAMP