Partner 2 - Charles University in Prague (CUNI)
CUNI, Prague, Czech Republic, is the most renowned higher education institute in the Czech Republic and its Faculty of Science is the leading institute in biomedical research. The Dept. Parasitology consists of five laboratories. Their research activities focus on metabolism and molecular phylogenetics of parasitic Protozoa and in mechanisms of transmission and cellular, biochemical and immunological interactions between the host, parasite and the vector. Main organisms studied are trichomonads, Giardia, heteroxenous coccidia, trypanosomes of birds, Trichobilharzia – snail model and Leishmania - Phlebotomus model. The study of the laboratory for Vector Biology headed by prof. Petr Volf is oriented towards various aspects of Leishmania - sand fly relationship. The team consists of 3 professors, Petr Volf (Professor), Milena Svobodova (Assoc. Prof.), Jan Votypka (Assist. Prof.), five researchers and seven PhD students. They study mainly molecular aspects of Leishmania development in sand fly midgut, antigens and enzymes in sand fly saliva and immune response of bitten hosts. Members of the team participate in biochemical, immunological and molecular studies in the laboratory and well in the field research in antroponotic and zoonotic foci of Leishmania tropica and L. infantum in various Mediterranean countries, mainly Turkey, Israel and Tunisia. Eight colonies of Phlebotomus sand flies maintained in the insectary represent the best collection of leishmaniases vectors in the Old World. CUNI is the coordinator of PhBD subgroup. Major part of its activity will concern vector competence and Leishmania – vector – host interactions. CUNI will be responsible for experimental studies on susceptibility of various sand flies to Leishmania, effect of temperature on Leishmania development, immunomodulatory effect of saliva in L. infantum transmission and studies of anti- sand fly saliva antibodies as a tool for monitoring sand fly – host contact. Together with HUA, CUNI will be a key partner for studies on sand fly biology and control.
It will participate in the field activities studies on spread of strains and hybrids of L. donovani complex in Mediterranean, distribution of sand fly species of subgenus Larroussius and their population genetics