Catalina Esther Avendaño Valenzuela


LÍNEAS DE INVESTIGACIÓN:   Salud Animal – Enfermedades Infecciosas Salud Animal – Vacunas

FACULTAD:  Ciencias Agropecuarias



Profesional de Microbiología Agrícola y Veterinaria, con especialización en Sanidad Animal y Doctor por la Universidad de Zaragoza en Medicina y Sanidad Animal. Con experiencia y habilidades en la docencia de microbiología, inmunología y diagnóstico en el laboratorio clínico; y con experiencia en investigación de parasitología, inmunología y biología molecular. Con capacidades para el manejo de grupos, trabajo interprofesional en equipo a nivel nacional e internacional. En el área de extensión y divulgación con capacidades para estructurar y presentar conferencias de carácter técnico y científico en las áreas mencionadas. Con dominio de lectura, escritura e interpretación de información científica en inglés.


Occurrence and molecular characterization of Giardia duodenalis in child population from Colombia
Fecha de publicación: 01/12/2019

Giardia duodenalis is one of the most prevalent human intestinal parasite, with children living in developing countries being particularly at risk of infection. The occurrence and molecular diversity of G. duodenalis was investigated in stools specimens from 307 individuals aged one to nineteen years in Colombia. Samples were collected in three educational establishments (n: 163) and two hospital laboratories (n: 144) from urban and rural areas. Feces were concentrated using a biphasic sedimentation method and wet mounts of the sediment were examined by light microscopy. G. duodenalis assemblages and sub-assemblages were determined on positive samples by PCR of the triose phosphate isomerase (tpi), β-giardin (bg) and small-subunit (ssurRNA genes. G. duodenalis infection was detected by microscopy in 23 individuals (7.5%). The protozoan was more prevalent among specimens collected in educational establishments (11.6%) than in those obtained from hospital laboratories (2.8%). Infection was most common in individuals from urban areas and children aged 1–5 years. No significant association between diarrhea and infection could be demonstrated. Twenty Giardia-positive samples were successfully allocated to assemblage B (n: 11), sub-assemblage AII (n: 7), and assemblage A (n: 2). Results indicate the potential for transmission of G. duodenalis infection in children attending educational establishments and individuals from urban areas, where transmission seems to be primarily anthroponotic.

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Multilocus fragment analysis of Cryptosporidium parvum from pre-weaned calves in Colombia
Fecha de publicación: 01/04/2019

The intra-species genetic diversity of Cryptosporidium parvum in dairy cattle farms in the central area of Colombia was investigated using a multilocus fragment typing approach with nine variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) loci and the gp60 gene. Genomic DNA of 70 C. parvum isolates from pre-weaned calves in 32 farms was analysed. Most markers showed two (ML1, MSB, CP47, and MSC6-7) or three alleles (5B12, Cgd2_3850, and Cgd6_5400), although they exhibited a major allele accounting for more than 69% of specimens, which explains their low discriminatory index. The TP14 microsatellite was monomorphic while a total of six alleles were found at the ML2 microsatellite. The two novel allelic variants (219bp, 245bp) exhibited by more than 36% of specimens at the latter locus were a remarkable finding. The 10-markers typing tool provided a Hunter-Gaston discriminatory value of 0.940 (95% CI, 0.918 – 0.961) and differentiated 22 multilocus subtypes (MLTs). Nevertheless, the combination of the three most informative markers (ML2, gp60, and Cgd2_3850) differentiated 68% of MLTs and hardly impaired the discriminatory index. The fact that many MLTs (13/22) were distinctive for individual farms provides evidence for the endemic nature of the infection and the major role played by transmission within farms. The eBURST algorithm suggested a low degree of genetic divergence. All but three MLTs were clustered in a clonal complex with a star-like topology typical of clonal expansion, however linkage analysis did not find evidence of linkage disequilibrium. Bayesian analysis also identified a genetic structure with K = 3 being the best estimation of ancestral clusters, although a large proportion of isolates (35%) could not be allocated to a single population, which indicates their mixed origin. The results confirm the genetic distinctiveness of C. parvum in cattle farms in this geographical area. This is the first multilocus analysis on the intra-specific variability of Cryptosporidium from calves in South America.

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Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium parvum and Cryptosporidium hominis GP60 subtypes worldwide
Fecha de publicación: 01/09/2017

Cryptosporidium is a zoonotic parasite very important in animal health as well as in public health. It is because this is one of the main causes of diarrhea in children, calves, lambs and other variety of youth mammalians in a lot of countries. The globalization has enabled the exchange of biological material in different regions worldwide, encouraging the spread of diseases and exposure to these biological agents to different environmental conditions, inducing adaptation through genetic changes. Based in the polymorphism of the gene for GP60, this review intended to present the distribution of Cryptosporidium parvum and Cryptosporidium hominis in humans and calves worldwide. The subtype that affects cattle more frequently corresponds to IIaA15G2R; while the subtype most frequently isolated from human samples is IaA19G2.

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Genetic uniqueness of Cryptosporidium parvum from dairy calves in Colombia
Fecha de publicación: 26/02/2018

Fecal specimens from 432 pre-weaned calves younger than 35 days were collected over a 2-year period (2010–2012) from 74 dairy cattle farms in the central area of Colombia. These samples were microscopically examined for the presence of Cryptosporidium oocysts, and positive specimens were selected for molecular examination. Microscopy revealed that 115 calves (26.6%) from 44 farms (59.5%) tested positive. Oocyst shedding was recorded in calves aged 3-day-old onwards, although the infection rate peaked at 8–14 days (40.7%). Infection rates were higher in diarrheic (52.2%) than in non-diarrheic calves (19.9%) (p < 0.0001, χ2), and infected calves had up to seven times more probability of having diarrhea than non-infected calves. Cryptosporidium species and subtypes were successfully identified in 73 samples from 32 farms. Restriction and sequence analyses of the SSU rRNA gene revealed C. parvum in all but two isolates identified as Cryptosporidium bovis. Sequence analyses of the 60-KDa glycoprotein (gp60) gene revealed eight subtypes within the IIa family. An unusual subtype (IIaA18G5R1) was the most prevalent and widely distributed (more than 66% specimens and 68% farms) while the subtype most frequently reported in cattle worldwide (IIaA15G2R1) was found in less than 13% of specimens and 16% farms. The remaining subtypes (IIaA16G2R1, IIaA17G4R1, IIaA20G5R1, IIaA19G6R1, IIaA20G6R1, and IIaA20G7R1) were restricted to 1–3 farms. This is the first large-sample size study of Cryptosporidium species and subtypes in Colombia and demonstrates the genetic uniqueness of this protozoan in cattle farms in this geographical area.

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Cryptosporidium spp. CP15 and CSL protein-derived synthetic peptides’ immunogenicity and in vitro seroneutralisation capability
Fecha de publicación: 29/10/2018

Cryptosporidium spp. is a zoonotic intracellular protozoan and a significant cause of diarrhoea in humans and animals worldwide. This parasite can cause high morbidity in immunocompromised people and children in developing countries, livestock being the main reservoir. This study was aimed at performing preliminary tests on Swiss albino weaned mice (ICR) to evaluate the humoral immune response induced against peptides derived from Cryptosporidium parvum CP15 (15 kDa sporozoite surface antigen) and CSL (circumsporozoite-like antigen) proteins. Peptides were identified and characterised using bioinformatics tools and were chemically synthesised. The antibody response was determined and the neutralising effect of antibodies was measured in cell culture. Despite all peptides studied here were capable of stimulating antibody production, neutralising antibodies were detected for just two of the CP15-derived ones. Additional studies aimed at evaluating further the potential of such peptides as vaccine candidates are thus recommended. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd

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