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Polskie Towarzystwo Parazytologiczne

    


IWOP-2017

IWOP-2017

The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine is proud to host the International Workshop on Opportunistic Protists.


After human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS was recognized in the 1980s as a pandemic impacting the United States, Western Europe, and later Sub-Saharan Africa, it was discovered that in many cases, several microbes rather than HIV itself were the direct cause of mortality.
In fact, an initial diagnostic criteria for AIDS was the presence of Pneumocystis Pneumonia (PCP) or other Opportunistic Infections (OI).

Given the importance of these microbes in AIDS, immunodeficiency-associated diseases, and in newer susceptible populations, such as those receiving new biological therapies that manipulate the immune system (alpha-TNF inhibitors, e.g.), OIs caused by several eukaryotic protists have received the attention of scientists and clinicians worldwide. Collectively and singularly, these organisms present a significant clinical management challenge because of their intractability to standard experimental approaches. They represent diverse taxa such as the micro-Fungi (Pneumocystis, Microsporidia, Candida, Histoplasma), Apicomplexans (Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, Toxoplasma), and other unicellular eukaryotes (free-living amebae, Blastocystis). All of these OIs present similar challenges to investigators. The primary difficulty facing researchers in these areas is the lack of in vitro axenic mass culture methods that would allow rapid organism proliferation and indefinite sub-cultivation. Various immune-deficient animal models and co-cultivation methods with animal cell lines have been developed, but these alternatives have not eliminated the challenges of low organism yields, serial sub-cultivation, and facile genetic manipulations. Hence, despite "brute force,” expensive, labor-intensive, and creative research approaches, there remain many unanswered questions and an ongoing need for research on these pathogenic organisms.

The objectives of IWOP-14 are, therefore, to:

  • Provide a venue for presentation and exchange of the latest research advances in the study of these OIs;
  • Craft an environment of support and collegiality for trainees and minorities in these areas of research;
  • Disseminate advances and challenges for increased input from the greater scientific community;
  • Recruit investigators to these poorly developed areas from those that are more advanced.


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