Dr Roberto Sánchez Sánchez, from Madrid Complutense University, with his research work “Toxoplasmosis and neosporosis in domestic ruminants: normalization of animal models and evaluation of new drugs” won the 23rd Syva Award for best Doctoral Thesis in Animal Health of €15,000. Congratulations!
The winning thesis was presented under the supervision of Drs Luis Miguel Ortega Mora, Ignacio Ferre Pérez and Michela Tatiana Re.
Dr Roberto Sánchez Sánchez is a vet who graduated from León University (2012) and was awarded a Doctorate “cum laude” from Madrid Complutense University, with a minor International Doctorate (2018).
He is currently a postdoctorate researcher with the UCM’s SALUVET group and has a contract with the Technological Platform for Research into Animal Health (PLATESA) for the Community of Madrid.
The Selection Board was chaired by Dr César B. Gutiérrez Martín (ULE), and comprised of Drs Ricardo de la Fuente López (UCM), Javier Lucientes Curdi (Unizar) and Rosario Bullido Gómez de las Heras (AEMPS). It also included Dr Maria Luisa de Arriba Martín, from Laboratorios Syva.
The research topic tackled Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum, apicomplexan parasites responsible for reproductive failure in ovine-caprine livestock and bovine livestock, respectively. Moreover, T. gondii is a zoonotic agent with broad global distribution. Animal models are an essential tool to study the pathogeny of disease and to develop drugs and vaccines.
Currently, there are no effective drugs to treat these diseases in ruminants. The calcium dependent protein, kinase 1 (CDPK1), has recently been reported, against which a group of drugs known as “Bumped Kinase Inhibitors” (BKIs) have been developed with promising results.
The aim of the thesis was to normalize expectant ovine models with T. gondii and N. caninum infection and, using these, evaluate the safety and efficacy of BKIs. The thesis results comprise an essential proof of concept to reveal the usefulness of these compounds in monitoring both diseases in domestic ruminants.
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