A main early project of the laboratory was the Trypanosoma cruzi genome project. T. cruzi is a protozoan parasite that is the causative agent of Chagas disease, which is a severe infectious disorder that affects millions of people in South and Central America. We published the complete genome sequence in Science in 2005. We have since then carried out comparative genomics of different strains, epidemiology, RNA sequencing, proteomics and functional studies of potential new drug targets in this and other parasites, including the malaria parasite Plasmodium and Giardia lamblia, an intestinal parasite and an important human pathogen. Current projects include improved diagnostics of Chagas disease in Bolivia and studies of unique mechanisms of immune evasion in the parasite, as well as malaria drug resistance studies.
A second major project in the group is microbiome studies with the aim to study skin diseases and to characterize the human virome in health and disease. We have been active in this field since 2004, and we have published several large microbiome studies, as well as new human viruses and methods for virus identification. Current projects include virome studies in cancer and type 1 diabetes, large-scale TTV typing, metagenomic diagnostics, and follow-up studies of skin viruses.