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Plasmodium Infection & Anti-malarial Interventions

Our lab's research interests span a wide range of topics within the malaria field, with particular emphasis on the hepatic stage of infection. We are interested in elucidating hitherto obscure aspects of the biology of Plasmodium infection, unveiling novel host-parasite interactions, and developing new drug- and vaccine-based anti-malarial strategies.

Research Team

Adriana Temporão
PhD Student

Américo Alves
PhD Student

António M. Mendes
Senior Postdoctoral Researcher

Carolina Vinagreiro
PhD Student

Daniela Brás
PhD Student

Denise Francisco
Lab Technician

Diana Fontinha
Postdoctoral Researcher

Diana Moita
PhD Student

Filipa Teixeira
Lab Technician

Francisca Arez
PhD Student

Gonçalo Nogueira
MSc Student

Helena Nunes-Cabaço
Senior Postdoctoral Researcher

Isabel Moules
MSc Student

Jorge Grilo
PhD Student

Pedro Rego
PhD Student

Raquel Azevedo
PhD Student

Patrícia Meireles
Postdoctoral Researcher

Research Areas

  • Understanding the molecular mechanisms of nutrient and ion transport and homeostasis during Plasmodium development inside hepatic cells.
  • Elucidating the role of bile acid metabolism and nuclear receptor-mediated signaling mechanisms in the context of Plasmodium liver infection.
  • Evaluating novel compounds in terms of their efficacy against Plasmodium liver stages.
  • Developing a novel pre-erythrocytic whole-organism, multi-stage anti-malarial vaccination strategy.
  • Investigating the reciprocal influence of Plasmodium and Trypanosoma co-infections.

Ongoing Research Projects

2019-2021 "Generation, characterization and in vivo evaluation of a novel live malaria vaccine"​,  GSK - OpenLab. Coordinator: Miguel Prudêncio.

2018-2021 "Enabling strategies for enhanced whole-sporozoite malaria vaccines", FCT. Coordinator: Miguel Prudêncio.

2018-2021 "A multitarget strategy to hit all stages of the Plasmodium life-cycle", FCT. Coordinator: Miguel Prudêncio.

2017-2019 "Production and maintenance of Plasmodium-infected mosquitoes", Merck. Coordinator: Miguel Prudêncio.

2017-2019 "A P. berghei-based vaccine against Malaria", PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative. Coordinator: Miguel Prudêncio.

2016-2019 "3D hepatic cell models of Plasmodium infection", Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica (iBET)/Merck. Coordinator: Miguel Prudêncio.

2016-2019 "Improving whole organism vaccines against malaria by genetic modification", FCT. Coordinator: António Mendes.


2014 EVERIS Entrepreneurs Award, Grand Finalist, April 2014, Madrid, Spain

2013 National BES Innovation Contest, 1st Prize for the Health Track and Winner of the Grand Prize, Concurso Nacional de Inovação do Banco Espirito Santo, November 2013, Lisboa, Portugal

2013 Building Global Innovators - ISCTE-IUL MIT-Portugal Venture Competition, Honorary Mention Health Track, November 2013, Lisboa, Portugal

2008 Amélia da Silva de Mello Award for Health Sciences, 1st Prize for the work entitled "Host SR-BI plays a dual role in the establishment of malaria liver infection", José de Mello ▪ Saúde, September 2008, Lisboa, Portugal

2007 CESPU International Research Award, 1st Prize for the work entitled "SR-BI plays a dual role in the establishment of malaria liver infection", Cooperativa de Ensino Superior Politécnico e Universitário, November 2007, Porto, Portugal

2004 Marie Curie Reintegration Grant

2001 Marie Curie Fellowship

Selected Publications

  • M. Sanches-Vaz, A. Temporão, R. Luis, H. Nunes-Cabaço, A.M. Mendes, S. Goellner, T. Carvalho, L.M. Figueiredo, M. Prudêncio (2019) "Trypanosoma brucei infection protects mice against malaria", PLoS Pathogens, in press.
  • R. Azevedo, A.M. Mendes, M.Prudêncio (2019) "Inhibition of Plasmodium sporogonic stages by ivermectin and other avermectins", Parasites & Vectors, in press.
  • F. Arez, S. Rebelo, D. Fontinha, D. Simão, T.R. Martins, M. Machado, C. Fischli, C. Oeuvray, L. Badolo, M. J. T. Carrondo, M. Rottmann, T. Spangenberg, C. Brito, B. Greco, M. Prudêncio, P.M. Alves (2019) “Flexible 3D cell-based platforms for the discovery and profiling of novel drugs targeting Plasmodium hepatic infection”, ACS Infect. Dis., in press.
  • K. Wolanin, D. Fontinha, M. Sanches‐Vaz, B. Nyboer, Kirsten Heiss, A.-K. Mueller, M. Prudêncio (2019) “A crucial role for the C‐terminal domain of exported protein 1 during the mosquito and hepatic stages of the Plasmodium berghei life cycle”, Cell. Microbiol., e13088.
  • A.M. Mendes, I.J. Reuling, C.M. Andrade, T.D. Otto, M. Machado, F. Teixeira, J. Pissarra, N. Gonçalves-Rosa, D. Bonaparte, J. Sinfrónio, M. Sanders, C.J. Janse, S.M. Khan, C.I. Newbold, M. Berriman, C. Lee, Y. Wu, C.F. Ockenhouse, R.W. Sauerwein, M. Prudêncio (2018) "Pre-Clinical Evaluation of a P. berghei-Based Whole-Sporozoite Malaria Vaccine Candidate", NPJ Vaccines, 3, 54.
  • A.M. Mendes, M. Machado, N. Gonçalves-Rosa, I.J. Reuling, L. Foquet, C. Marques, A.M. Salman, A.S.P. Yang, K.A. Moser, A. Dwivedi, C.C. Hermsen, B. Jiménez-Díaz, S. Viera, J.M. Santos, I. Albuquerque, S.N. Bhatia, J. Bial, I. Angulo-Barturen, J.C. Silva, G. Leroux-Roels, C.J. Janse, S.M. Khan, M.M. Mota, R.W. Sauerwein, M. Prudêncio (2018) "A Plasmodium berghei Sporozoite-Based Vaccination Platform Against Human Malaria", NPJ Vaccines, 3, 33.
  • M. Machado, M. Sanches-Vaz, J.P. Cruz, A.M. Mendes, M. Prudêncio (2017) "Inhibition of Plasmodium hepatic infection by antiretroviral compounds", Front. Cell. Infect. Microbiol., 7, doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2017.00329.
  • P. Meireles, A.M. Mendes, R.I. Aroeira, B.C. Mounce, M. Vignuzzi, H.M. Staines, M. Prudêncio (2017) "Uptake and metabolism of arginine impact Plasmodium development in the liver", Sci. Rep., 7, 4072.
  • R. Azevedo, M. Markovic, M. Machado, B. Franke-Fayard, A.M. Mendes, M. Prudêncio (2017) "A bioluminescence method for in vitro screening of Plasmodium transmission-blocking compounds", Antimicrob. Agents Chemother., 61, 202699-16.
  • C.S. Cunha, B. Nyboer, K. Heiss, M. Sanches-Vaz, D. Fontinha, E. Wiedtke, D. Grimm, J.M. Przyborski, M.M. Mota, M. Prudêncio, A.K. Mueller (2017) "P. berghei EXP-1 Interacts with Host Apolipoprotein H during Plasmodium Liver Stage Development", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 114, E1138-E1147.
  • A.M. Mendes, I.S. Albuquerque, M. Machado, J. Pissarra, P. Meireles, M. Prudêncio (2017) "Inhibition of Plasmodium liver infection by ivermectin", Antimicrob. Agents Chemother., 61, e02005-16.
  • P. Meireles, J. Sales-Dias, C.M. Andrade, J. Mello-Vieira, L. Mancio-Silva, J.P. Simas, H.M. Staines, M. Prudêncio (2016) "GLUT1-mediated glucose uptake plays a crucial role during Plasmodium hepatic infection", Cell. Microbiol., doi:10.1111/cmi.12646.
  • M.D. Lewis, J. Behrends, C.S. Cunha, A.M. Mendes, F. Lasitschka, K. Heiss, T.W.A. Kooij, M.Prudêncio, F.Frischknecht and A.-K. Mueller (2015), "Chemical attenuation of Plasmodium in the liver modulates severe malaria disease progression", Journal of Immunology, in press.
  • C.A.B. Rodrigues, R.F.M. Frade, I.S. Albuquerque, M.J. Perry, J. Gut, M. Machado, P.J. Rosenthal, M. Prudêncio, C.A.M. Afonso, R. Moreira (2015), "Targeting the Erythrocytic and Liver Stages of Malaria Parasites with s-Triazine-Based Hybrids", ChemMedChem, in press.
  • P. Liehl, P. Meireles, I.S. Albuquerque, M. Pinkevych, F. Baptista, M.M. Mota, M.P. Davenport, M. Prudêncio (2015), "Innate immunity induced by Plasmodium liver infection inhibits malaria reinfections", Infection and Immunity, 83, 1172-1180.
  • P. Liehl, V. Zuzarte-Luís, J. Chan, T. Zillinger, F. Baptista, D.l Carapau, M. Konert, K. Hanson, C. Carret, C. Lassnig, M. Müller, U. Kalinke, M. Saeed, A.F. Chora, D.T. Golenbock, B. Strobl, M. Prudêncio, L.P. Coelho, S.H. Kappe, G. Superti-Furga, A. Pichlmair, A.M. Vigário, C.M. Rice, K.A. Fitzgerald, W. Barchet, M.M. Mota (2014) "Host cell sensors for Plasmodium activate innate immunity against liver stage infection", Nat. Med., 20, 47-53.
  • T. Rodrigues, F.P. da Cruz, M. Lafuente-Monasterio, D. Gonçalves, A. Ressurreição, A.R. Sitoe, M.R. Bronze, J.Gut, G. Schneider, M.M. Mota, P.J. Rosenthal, M. Prudêncio, F.-J. Gamo, F. Lopes, R. Moreira (2013) "Quinolon-4(1H)-imines are Potent Antiplasmodial Drugs Targeting the Liver Stage of Malaria", J. Med. Chem., 56, 4811-4815.
  • E. Dempsey, M. Prudêncio, B.J. Fennell, C.S. Gomes-Santos, J.W. Barlow, A. Bell (2013) "Antimitotic herbicides bind to an unidentified site on malarial parasite tubulin and block development of liver-stage Plasmodium parasites", Mol. Biochem. Parasitol., 188, 116-127. Highlighted as Feature Article on Malaria Nexus.
  • J. Lin, P. Meireles, M. Prudêncio, S. Engelmann, T. Annoura, M. Sajid, S. Chevalley‐Maurel, J. Ramesar, C. Nahar, C.M.C. Avramut, A.J. Koster, K. Matuschewski, A.P. Waters, C.J. Janse, G.R. Mair, S.M. Khan (2013) "Loss‐of‐Function Analyses Defines Vital and Redundant Functions of the Plasmodium Rhomboid Protease Family", Mol. Microbiol., 88, 318-338.
  • B.C. Pérez, C. Teixeira, I.S. Albuquerque, J. Gut, P.J. Rosenthal, J.R.B. Gomes, M. Prudêncio, P. Gomes (2013) "N-cinnamoylated chloroquine analogues as dual-stage antimalarial leads", J. Med. Chem., 56, 556-567.
  • M. Prudêncio, Maria M. Mota (2013) "Targeting host factors to circumvent anti-malarial drug resistance", Curr. Pharm. Des., 19, 290-299.
  • F.P. da Cruz, C. Martin, K. Buchholz K, M.J. Lafuente-Monasterio, T. Rodrigues, B. Sönnichsen, R. Moreira, F.J. Gamo, M. Marti, M.M. Mota, M. Hannus, M. Prudêncio (2012) "Drug Screen Targeted at Plasmodium Liver Stages Identifies a Potent Multi-Stage Anti-Malarial Drug", J. Inf. Dis., 205, 1278-1286, Evaluated by Faculty of 1000 Biology and Medicine
  • M. Prudêncio, M.M. Mota, A.M. Mendes (2011) "A toolbox to study liver stage malaria", Trends Parasitol., 27, 565-574 (Review), Selected by MalariaNexus.
  • R. Capela, G.G. Cabal, P.J. Rosenthal, J. Gut, M.M. Mota, R. Moreira, F. Lopes, M. Prudêncio (2011) "Design and evaluation of primaquine-artemisinin hybrids as a multistage antimalarial strategy", Antimicrob. Agents Chemother., 55, 4698-4706.
  • K. Slavic, M.J. Delves, M. Prudêncio, A.M. Talman, U. Straschil, E.T. Derbyshire, Z. Xu, R.E. Sinden, M.M. Mota, C. Morin, R. Tewari, S. Krishna, H.M. Staines (2011) "Use of a Selective Inhibitor To Define the Chemotherapeutic Potential of the Plasmodial Hexose Transporter in Different Stages of the Parasite's Life Cycle", Antimicrob. Agents Chemother., 55, 2824-2830.
  • I.H. Ploemen, M. Prudêncio, B.G. Douradinha, J. Ramesar, J. Fonager, G.J. van Gemert, A.J. Luty, C.C. Hermsen, R.W. Sauerwein, F.G. Baptista, M.M. Mota, A.P. Waters, I. Que, C.W. Lowik, S.M. Khan, C.J Janse, B.M. Franke-Fayard (2009) "Visualisation and quantitative analysis of the rodent malaria liver stage by real time imaging", PLoS ONE, 4, e7881.
  • M. Prudêncio, E.T. Derbyshire, C.A. Marques, S. Krishna, M.M. Mota, H.M. Staines (2009) "Plasmodium berghei-infection induces volume-regulated anion channel-like activity in human hepatoma cells", Cell. Microbiol., 11, 1492-1501.
  • M. Prudêncio, M.J. Lehmann (2009) "Illuminating the host - How RNAi screens shed light on host-pathogen interactions", Biotechnol. J., 4, 826-837.
  • M. Prudêncio, C.D. Rodrigues, M. Hannus, C. Martin, E. Real, L .A. Gonçalves, C. Carret, R. Dorkin, I. Röhl, K. Jahn-Hoffmann, A.J.F. Luty, R. Sauerwein, C.J. Echeverri, M.M. Mota (2008) "Kinome-Wide RNAi Screen Implicates at Least 5 Host Hepatocyte Kinases in Plasmodium Sporozoite Infection", PLoS Pathogens, 4, 1-15.
  • C.D. Rodrigues, M. Hannus, M. Prudêncio, C. Martin, L.A. Gonçalves, S. Portugal, S. Epiphanio, A. Akinc, P. Hadwiger, K. Jahn-Hofmann, I. Röhl, G.J. van Gemert, J.F. Franetich, A.J. Luty, R. Sauerwein, D. Mazier, V. Koteliansky, H.P. Vornlocher, C.J. Echeverri, M.M. Mota (2008) "Host Scavenger Receptor SR-BI Plays a Dual Role in the Establishment of Malaria Parasite Liver Infection", Cell Host & Microbe, 11, 4, 271-282.
  • O. Silvie, M.M. Mota, K. Matuschewski, M. Prudêncio (2008) "Interactions of the malaria parasite and its mammalian host", Curr. Opin. Microbiol., 11, 352-359.
  • M. Prudêncio, C.D. Rodrigues, R. Ataíde, M.M. Mota (2008), "Dissecting in vitro host cell infection by Plasmodium sporozoites using flow cytometry", Cell. Microbiol., 10, 218-224.
  • M. Prudêncio, M.M. Mota (2007), "To migrate or to invade: those are the options", Cell Host & Microbe, 2, 286-288.
  • M. Prudêncio, A. Rodriguez, M.M. Mota (2006), "The silent path to thousands of merozoites: the Plasmodium liver stage", Nat. Rev. Microbiol., 2006, 4, 849-856.
group leader :
Miguel Prudêncio