Cristian Cortez, PhD.

Assistant Professor

Host-Pathogen Interactions laboratory

Doctor en Ciencias, Mención Microbiología, Inmunología y Parasitología, Universidad Federal de Sao Paulo, Brasil.

Líneas de Investigación

1. Mecanismos moleculares de la patogénesis periodontal

i) Papel de la autofagia en la patogénesis de la periodontitis

ii) Muerte y sobrevivencia celular durante la periodontitis

iii) Microbiología periodontal: Potencial patogénico de las biopeliculas orales.

2. Patogénesis de la enfermedad de Chagas

i) Mecanismos moleculares de la invasión celular por Trypanosoma cruzi

Host-Pathogen Interactions laboratory

Host-pathogen interactions laboratory

Our laboratory is interested in studying and elucidating the molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogen-host interactions. We focus on the role of host-lysosomes and cytoskeletal dynamics during host-cell invasion, and the signaling pathways responsible for the infected cell fate: survival or death. For this purpose, we use animal and in vitro infection models and methodologies that allow us to identify and quantify differentially regulated molecular markers during infection and high resolution microscopy for the direct visualization of pathogens interacting with different cell structures. Using transcriptomic analysis of shotgun sequencing (RNA-Seq) data we aim to identify, characterize and validate new potential therapeutic targets and early predictive molecular biomarkers of disease.

Lines of Research

1. Molecular mechanisms of periodontitis pathogenesis

I. Role of autophagy in the periodontitis pathogenesis

II. Survival and cell death in periodontitis

III. Periodontal microbiology: Pathogenic potential of oral biofilm

2. Chagas disease pathogenesis

i. Molecular mechanisms of cell invasion by Trypanosoma cruzi



Cristian Cortez Plaza is principal investigator (PI) of the Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics and Assistant Professor at the Universidad Mayor since 2016. He obtained his Bachelor´s degree in Medical Technology from the Universidad de Antofagasta in 2000 and his Ph.D in Sciences in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Escola Paulista de Medicina, Brazil (2008 – 2013). Later he held a postdoctoral position at the same university (2013-2015), where he developed and collaborated in several research projects related to the molecular mechanisms associated with the interactions between pathogenic microorganisms and their hosts.

Dr. Cortez has several publications in journals of recognized international impact in the field of cellular and molecular biology of infection. His scientific contribution has been awarded for his outstanding presentation of results and for the quality and originality of his works in several international congresses (2011, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018).

Selected publications

1. Cortez C, Yoshida N, Bahia D, Sobreira TJ (2012). Structural basis of the interaction of a Trypanosoma cruzi surface molecule implicated in oral infection with host cells and gastric mucin. PLoS One; 7(7):e42153. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042153.

2. Cortez C, Martins RM, Alves RM, Silva RC, Bilches LC, Macedo S, Atayde VD, Kawashita SY, Briones MR, Yoshida N (2012). Differential infectivity by the oral route of Trypanosoma cruzi lineages derived from Y strain. PloS Neglected Tropical Disease; 6(10):e1804. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001804.

3. Cortez C, Real F, Yoshida N (2016). Lysosome biogenesis/scattering increases host cell susceptibility to invasion by Trypanosoma cruzi metacyclic forms and resistance to tissue culture trypomastigotes. Cellular Microbiology; 18(5):748-60. doi: 10.1111/cmi.12548.

4. Monasterio G#, Budini V#, Fernández B, Castillo F, Rojas C, Alvarez C, Cafferata EA, Vicencio E, Cortés BI, Cortez C*, Vernal R* (2019). IL-22-expressing CD4+ AhR+ T lymphocytes are associated with RANKL-mediated alveolar bone resorption during experimental periodontitis. Journal of Periodontal Research. Apr 29. doi: 10.1111/jre.12654. *Corresponding authors.

5. Cordero EM, Cortez C, Yoshida N, da Silveira JF (2019). Signal peptide recognition in Trypanosoma cruzi GP82 adhesin relies on its localization at protein N-terminus. Scientific Reports; May 13;9(1):7325. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-43743-0.



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