Research in Leishmaniasis: Analysis and Applied Methodologies


After this unit, students should be able to: 1. Identify new molecular tools applied to the gene manipulation of trypanosomatids;
2. Acquire knowledge on the diagnosis and control of human and animal trypanosomoses and recognize their veterinary importance;
3. Describe methodologies used in parasitological, serological and molecular laboratory investigation and diagnosis of infections caused by the trypanosomatid protozoa Leishmania sp.;
4. Apply theoretical knowledge in carrying out the main laboratory methodologies in the scope of leishmaniasis diagnosis;
5. Integrate knowledge about the potential repercussions of climate and environmental changes on sand fly species and on the vector transmission of Leishmania;
6. Organize a research project proposal integrating the knowledge acquired in this Curricular Unit and other knowledge of Medical Protozoology.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Sofia Cortes


Weekly - Se a UC for oferecida como opcional, o horário será disponibilizado no 2º semestre

Total - 34

Teaching language



Attendance of 2/3 of classes is mandatory


• Beneke T., et al (2017). A CRISPR Cas9 high-throughput genome editing toolkit for kinetoplastids. Royal Society Open Science 10.1098/rsos.170095.
• Ponte-Sucre A. (2016). An overview of Trypanosoma brucei infections: an intense host-parasite interaction. Front. Microbiol., 7: 2126. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.02126
• Alten B et al. (2016). Seasonal dynamics of Phlebotomine sand fly proven vectors of Mediterranean Leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania infantum. Plos NTD, 10, 2. http://dx.doi.10.1371/journal.pntd.0004458
• Van der Auwera G et al. (2016). Comparison of Leishmania typing results in 16 European clinical laboratories. Eurosurveillance, 21(49): pii=30418. DOI: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2016.21.49.30418
• Maia C et al. (2009). Diagnosis of canine leishmaniasis: Conventional and molecular techniques using different tissues. Vet J, 179: 142-144. DOI: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2007.08.009

Teaching method

This Optional Curricular Unit aims to transmit theoretical knowledge and practical skills on the tools used in the investigation and diagnosis of leishmaniasis through expository, interrogative, demonstrative and active methodologies. In theoretical and theoretical-practical classes, there will be use of online tools to generate genetically modified parasites, gamification and perception and knowledge consolidation questionnaires. In practical sessions, students, in groups, will have the opportunity to perform different laboratory techniques and discuss the results based on case studies; exercises will be carried out in class and in moodle to consolidate knowledge. The Seminar component will have an active methodology through the group presentation of a research project proposal.

Evaluation method

The final evaluation of the UC is composed of: active participation in practical classes with performance evaluation through a procedure sheet and preparation of a report (20% weight), execution of exercises in class and in moodle (10% weighting) and elaboration and oral presentation of a research project (70% weighting).
Content of the oral presentation of the research project: 6-8 slides; project title; Objectives (framework); selected methodologies; expected results.
Research project evaluation criteria: graphic aspect of the project presentation and scientific terminology; project originality/objective relevance; chosen methodologies; expected overall results; synthesis capacity; oral discussion of the project.
Assessment of the UCO and teachers: will be done through a questionnaire to the students after the end of the course. To obtain frequency in the Curricular Unit it is mandatory to attend at least 2/3 of the classes taught and final average ≥ 9.5 values.

Subject matter

I. In Vitro Drug Susceptibility Assays.
II. Gene editing tools applied to trypanosomatids; practical examples and use of online tools for planning and generating genetically modified parasites.
III. Canine leishmaniasis: clinical and laboratory aspects.
IV. Execution of laboratory techniques used in the diagnosis and investigation of Leishmaniasis: cultures, counterimmunoelectrophoresis, indirect immunofluorescence, ITS1-PCR-RFLP.
V. Climate change and the repercussions on vector transmission of Leishmania, on variations in sand fly expansion and densities and on periods of vector activity; Definition of vector transmission monitoring, control and mitigation.
VI. Microscopic observation of sandflies infected with Leishmania.
VII. Group presentation of potential research projects related to trypanosomatids and/or their vectors.


Programs where the course is taught: