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Information Page of SAS Organisation

Project

Institute of Parasitology

International Projects

FunProd - Relationships between functional diversity and food production and quality under ecological intensification

Funkčná biodiverzita, výroba potravín, ekologické poľnohospodárstvo a vzťahy medzi nimi.

Duration: 1. 4. 2020 - 31. 3. 2024
Program: ERANET
Project leader: Ing. Čerevková Andrea PhD.
Annotation:Agricultural intensification contributes to global food security and health by supplying the food demand of a growing human population, but also causes environmental problems. Ecological intensification has been proposed as viable alternative to achieve a balance between negative environmental issues, such as the ongoing loss of biodiversity, and sufficiently high and qualitative food production. The functional diversity of biotic communities is an understudied dimension of biodiversity which may be particularly relevant for the links between ecological intensification, biodiversity, pollination, pest control and human food and livestock fodder production. Previous studies addressed the effects of ecological intensification on the functional diversity of single taxonomic groups in individual countries without considering links between functional diversity and plant, animal or human health across different landscapes and climatic regions. FunProd will undertake the joint synthesis of existing databases on these aspects in organic agriculture and permanent grasslands in Europe to provide a significant contribution to the evidence base for such links across different climatic regions and a range of landscapes. Closing this knowledge gap will contribute to the development of nature-based agricultural systems that provide simultaneously high levels of plant protection and health, together with sufficient productivity and quality to support the global human population, all while reducing environmental impact of agriculture. To this end, FunProd will address the following specific questions: • Does ecological intensification enhance the functional diversity of biotic communities across taxonomic groups compared to conventional intensification and does the effect depend on climatic conditions, landscape structure and/or agricultural system? • Does the effect of ecological intensification on the functional diversity of local communities explain the observed effect of ecological intensification on crop protection, pollination and health? Can a high functional diversity reduce the yield gap between agricultural production systems that focus on ecological and conventional intensification in Europe, and thereby contribute to future food security and quality?

Comparative cytogenetic analysis of the thorny-headed worm Acanthocephalus lucii from the industrially polluted area of Zemplín Region and the natural volcanic lake Morské Oko.

Komparatívna cytogenetická analýza háčikohlavca Acanthocephalus lucii z priemyselne znečistenej oblasti Zemplína a prírodného sopečného jazera Morské Oko.

Duration: 1. 1. 2021 - 31. 12. 2022
Program: Mobility
Project leader: RNDr. Orosová Martina PhD.
Annotation:The project aims to study chromosomes of Acanthocephalus lucii (Acanthocephala: Echinorhynchidae) from two selected research areas where one is exposed to severe mixed industrial pollution (Zemplínska Šírava water reservoir) and the other (Morské Oko) is relatively free of pollution. The detailed structure of the karyotype and individual chromosomes of A. lucii will be characterized by standard and molecular techniques of karyology. For the first time, a new methodological approach will be applied to identify and characterize repetitive DNA elements in the genome of this species (RepeatExplorer) in order to obtain suitable chromosomal markers. We expect that FISH mapping using these markers in ecologically distinct populations of A. lucii will provide original data that will allow answers to questions regarding the likely impact of environment with a high degree of anthropogenic pollution on chromosomes of the fish parasite studied.

ONEHEALTH - One Health concept & water-borne parasitic diseases in Central Europe: next-generation monitoring

One Health koncept a ľudské parazitózy viazané na vodné prostredie v strednej Európe: monitorovanie pomocou sekvenovania novej generácie

Duration: 1. 7. 2022 - 30. 6. 2025
Program: Bilaterálne - iné
Project leader: RNDr. Oros Mikuláš PhD.
Annotation:The proposed project in the framework of the development of international science and innovation between the two Central European countries focuses on cooperation in the application of the One Health concept, i.e. focusing on the triad of humans, animals and the environment. The main objective is to address the neglected problem of the current occurrence of water-borne zoonoses and their potential risk to human health. The bird schistosomes causing cercarial dermatitis (swimmer’s itch), fish-borne trematodes responsible for metagonimosis and opisthorchosis, and the broad fish tapeworm causing diphyllobothriosis were selected for their importance and confirmed occurrence in Central Europe. The originality and innovativeness of the proposed project lies in its integrative research strategy based on a combination of traditional invasive parasitological methods and modern non-invasive eDNA metabarcoding as a powerful tool for large-scale screening of human parasites. The proposed project represents a continuation of the previous fruitful collaboration between both teams, but at a qualitatively higher level and with a shift from veterinary to medical parasitology.

Population genetics and biogeography of a zoonotic tapeworm Dibothriocephalus latus

Populačná genetika a biogeografia zoonóznej pásomnice Dibothriocephalus latus

Duration: 1. 1. 2021 - 31. 12. 2022
Program: Mobility
Project leader: MVDr. Čisovská Bazsalovicsová Eva PhD.
Annotation:Diphyllobothriosis is a fish-borne parasitic zoonosis caused by the tapeworms of the order Diphyllobothriidea. As many as 50 valid species have been recognized within the order, but only six of them were confirmed as true parasites of humans. Dibothriocephalus latus, the type species of the genus Dibothriocephalus, is considered to be the most frequent causative agent of diphyllobothriosis. Humans can acquire infection by consumption of fish infected with larval stages of the parasite, called plerocercoids. The tapeworm was selected as a model parasite of the proposed project due to its medical importance, zoonotic potential and broad geographic distribution. The aim of the project is to reveal genetic interrelationships and migratory routes of different allopatric populations of D. latus using mitochondrial haplotypes, polymorphic microsatellite loci and genomic SNP analyses. The results will uncover complex picture about population structuring and genetic diversity of D. latus populations and will help to resolve an origin of diphyllobothriosis in Europe.

HepatiCap - Synantropic small mammals as a reservoir for zoonotic species Capillaria hepatica (Nematoda: Capillariidae)

Synantrópne drobné cicavce ako rezervoár zoonózneho druhu Capillaria hepatica (Nematoda: Capillariidae)

Duration: 1. 1. 2022 - 31. 12. 2023
Program: Bilaterálne - iné
Project leader: MVDr. Miterpáková Martina DrSc.

Wild carnivores as a reservoir of zoonotic diseases in the north-eastern Poland

Voľne žijúce mäsožravce ako rezervoár zoonóznych ochorení na území severovýchodného Poľska

Duration: 1. 1. 2019 - 31. 12. 2022
Program: Medziakademická dohoda (MAD)
Project leader: MVDr. Dvorožňáková Emília PhD.
Annotation:Wild carnivores are an important reservoir for zoonotic diseases and play a significant role in their transmission to humans. The aim of the project is to study occurrence of such zoonotic diseases as: trichinellosis, echinococcosis, toxocarosis, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, mycoplasmosis, and borreliosis in wild carnivores inhabiting north-eastern Poland. Partially collected material and routinely used methods will provide reliable results. It will be the first complex study showing the species - specific pattern of carnivore hosts for zoonotic diseases in north-eastern Poland.

National Projects

Alternative methods for assessing contamination rates of aquatic ecosystem using fish and their parasites

Alternatívne metódy hodnotenia miery kontaminácie vodného ekosystému s využitím rýb a ich parazitov

Duration: 1. 1. 2020 - 31. 12. 2023
Program: VEGA
Project leader: RNDr. Oros Mikuláš PhD.
Annotation:Some regions of Eastern Slovakia are known for a high degree of severe polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) pollution. PCBs are highly toxic contaminants that persist in the environment for a long time and pose a significant risk to human and animal health. The highest levels of PCBs, exceeding the ecological and health limits, were measured in the sediments of the Zemplínska Šírava reservoir, but their further spread by its adjacent rivers is not known. The aim of the project is a comprehensive research of PCB pollution of Zemplínska Šírava and adjacent rivers using analytical methods and bioindicators, selected fish species and their parasites. An important part of the project is the research of structural, cellular and functional abnormalities (chromosomal aberrations and disorders of gametogenesis) in parasites of the contaminated ecosystem. We expect that our results provide new information on the ecological status of the studied sites, the physiological condition of fish and the risks to residents of Zemplín.

ALTREAT - Alternative parasite control of small ruminant

Alternatívne terpaie parazitóz malých prežúvavcov

Duration: 1. 7. 2019 - 30. 6. 2023
Program: APVV
Project leader: prof. MVDr. Várady Marián DrSc.
Annotation:Diseases caused by helminths of farm animals are among the most serious infectious diseases. They account for over 55% of all livestock diseases in Europe and cause significant losses in animal production figures. The spread of anthelmintic resistance in livestock parasites has led to the failure of therapy and the need to develop new strategies and recommendations for effective control of the antihelminthic parasite resistance. The project offers an alternative strategies to currently used chemotherapy solutions, namely the concept of herbal nutraceuticals as feed for ruminants with an effect against gastrointestinal parasitoses.

Biogeography and migratory routes of zoonotic tapeworms Dibothriocephalus latus and D. dendriticus (Cestoda: Diphyllobothriidea)

Biogeografia a migračné trasy zoonóznych pásomníc Dibothriocephalus latus a D. dendriticus (Cestoda: Diphyllobothriidea)

Duration: 1. 1. 2021 - 31. 12. 2024
Program: VEGA
Project leader: RNDr. Hromadová Ivica DrSc.
Annotation:Tapeworms of the order Diphyllobothriidea are causative agents of parasitic zoonosis, diphyllobothriosis. Out of 50 species of the order, six were confirmed as true parasites of humans. Human can acquire infection by consumption of fish infected with larval stages called plerocercoids. The only autochthonous diphyllobothriid species in Europe parasitizing human are Dibothriocephalus latus and Dibothriocephalus dendriticus. They were selected as model parasites of the project due to their medical importance, zoonotic potential and broad geographic distribution. The aim of the project is to provide the latest data on distribution of both tapeworms in Europe using molecular markers and genotyping. Genetic interrelationships and migratory routes of world-wide populations of D. latus and D. dendriticus will be determined by mitochondrial haplotypes and polymorphic microsatellite loci. The project will reveal if diphyllobothriosis is native in Europe or is a result of trans-continental introduction.

Cestodoses with zoonotic potential in Slovakia – negligible risk or serious threat?

Cestodózy so zoonóznym potenciálom na Slovensku – zanedbateľné riziko alebo závažná hrozba?

Duration: 1. 1. 2020 - 31. 12. 2023
Program: VEGA
Project leader: MVDr. Antolová Daniela DrSc.
Annotation:Tapeworms of the genus Echinococcus, Hymenolepis and Taenia, important from public health point of view, occur in Slovakia. The most severe diseases, alveolar and cystic echinococcosis, are caused by larval stages of E. multilocularis and E. granulosus. Taenia saginata and T. solium infections are less frequent and less pathogenic, but T. solium can cause life-threatening neurocysticercosis. Human hymenolepiasis also occurs rarely, but high prevalence of Hymenolepis nana recorded in small rodents from pet shops, together with its zoonotic potential and recently confirmed ability of neoplastic transformation, confirmed that the risk of human health threat is not negligible. The project aims to extend the current knowledge on occurrence and genetic diversity of Echinococcus spp., Hymenolepis spp. and Taenia spp. and, through the analyses of immunological parameters in patients with different stage of echinococcosis, clarify the changes of immune response in patients and to find possibilities of its modulation.

EpiRodent - Small mammals as reservoir for zoonotic pathogens in an urbanizing world – epidemiology and genetic diversity.

Drobné cicavce ako rezervoár zoonóznych patogénov v urbanizujúcom sa svete - epidemiológia a genetická diverzita

Duration: 1. 7. 2022 - 30. 6. 2026
Program: APVV
Project leader: MVDr. Miterpáková Martina DrSc.
Annotation:The research project is focused on the transmission of zoonotic pathogens of parasitic Capillaria hepatica, Trichinella spp., Toxocara spp., Echinococcus multilocularis, Hymenolepis spp., Toxoplasma gondii) and bacterial (Bartonella spp., Rickettsia spp., Borrelia spp., etc.) origin through their reservoir hosts – rodents and insectivores. The topic is very closely related to the current intensive urbanization, which is significantly connected with natural habitats modification and changes in the wildlife species distribution. In addition, the common environment shared by urbanized animal species with humans and the zoonotic nature of many pathogens pose a serious risk to public health risks. The presented project aims to conduct complex zoological and epidemiological research providing antecedent information on species spectrum of the reservoir hosts and the pathogens transmitted by them in various habitats of the urban and suburban environment; the phylogenetic analyzes of the obtained isolates will be performed, and the degree of potential infection risk from the veterinary and public health point of view will be determined. The added value of the project consists in the high probability of acquiring rare and precious biological material which can be used also for other biological and medical researches.

RiskPar - Risk assessment of the parasitozoonoses occurrence using multicriteria analysis approaches

Hodnotenie rizika výskytu parazitozoonóz metódami multikriteriálnej analýzy

Duration: 1. 7. 2019 - 30. 6. 2023
Program: APVV
Project leader: doc. RNDr. Papajová Ingrid PhD.

Immunomodulatory properties of probiotic enterococci and their enterocins in the antiparasitic defence of the host with experimental trichinellosis

Imunomodulačné vlastnosti probiotických enterokokov a ich enterocínov pri antiparazitárnej obrane hostiteľa s experimentálnou trichinelózou

Duration: 1. 1. 2019 - 31. 12. 2022
Program: VEGA
Project leader: MVDr. Dvorožňáková Emília PhD.
Annotation:A novel strategy utilising the therapeutic potencial of bacteriocin-producing bacterial strains Enterococcus and their enterocins will be investigated to exploit its protective effect against parasitic zoonosis – trichinellosis. The immunogenic activity of bacterial strains/bacteriocins will be examined at the levels of local and systemic, innate and acquired immunity. Direct and indirect interactions of enterocins with host immunity, such as stimulation of immune cells (lymphocytes, macrophages) and cytokine production during induction and regulation of the immune response in model parasitic infection will be studied. Links between the administration of bacteria/bacteriocins, immune effectors induction, and parasite elimination will be established. The project contribution will be strain-specific characterization of immunogenic properties of bacterial strains and their bacteriocins as promising candidates for prophylactic or therapeutic immunomodulation of the host with trichinellosis.

PCBMONITOR - Integrated monitoring and environmental risk assessment of PCBs and mercury contaminants in the Zemplín Region (Slovakia), one of the most ecologically threatened territories in Europe

Komplexný monitoring a hodnotenie environmentálnych rizík výskytu PCB a kontaminantov ortuti v oblasti Zemplína (Slovensko), jedného z najviac ekologicky ohrozených území Európy

Duration: 1. 7. 2019 - 30. 6. 2023
Program: APVV
Project leader: RNDr. Oros Mikuláš PhD.
Annotation:Environmental pollution is one of the most serious problems threatening survival and a future development of human civilization. Among pollutants, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and highly toxic heavy metals play a key role, because they accumulate and persist in the aquatic ecosystem including plants, invertebrates and animals for a long time. Even though they represent a real danger for human health, the actual dispersal and quantity of these contaminants in the environment are poorly known. Therefore, the proposed project aims to address the important questions of environmental pollution of the PCB-contaminated Zemplínska Šírava (eastern Slovakia) water reservoir, one of the worst man-made polluted spots in Europe, and its surroundings including the adjacent protected landscape of the Bodrog River basin. All major components of the polluted water reservoir and its surroundings (sediments, soil, fish, fish parasites, soil and plant parasitic nematodes and plants) will be analyzed for PCB levels and Hg concentration, using a new interdisciplinary approach, which will combine standard methods of pollutant detection with the use of bioindicators and molecular cytogenetics. It is expected that the results of this project will help to better understand the impact of environmental pollution on the aquatic life and suitability of bioindicators, especially fish parasites, in the biomonitoring of contaminants.

Modulation of imunity by albendazole and the role of selected miRNAs in experimental alveolar echinococcosis.

Modulácia imunity albendazolom a úloha vybraných miRNAs pri experimentálnej alveolárnej echinokokóze

Duration: 1. 1. 2021 - 31. 12. 2024
Program: VEGA
Project leader: RNDr. Hrčková Gabriela DrSc.

Molecular epidemiology and risk of spread of wildlife parasites in actual ecologic conditions of Slovakia

Molekulárna epidemiológia a riziko šírenia sa parazitov zveri v aktuálnych ekologických podmienkach Slovenska

Duration: 1. 1. 2019 - 31. 12. 2022
Program: VEGA
Project leader: doc. MVDr. Hurníková Zuzana PhD.
Annotation:The project will focus on the mechanisms of transmission and spread of parasites in natural ecosystems in Slovakia to elucidate the circulation patterns of selected protozoa (Toxoplasma gondii and haemosporidia of the genera Leucocytozoon and Haemoproteus) and helminths (Eufilaria, Eufilariella, Onchocerca, and Anoplocephalidae). By means of molecular biology methods the current geographic distribution of selected parasitic diseases will be investigated in Slovakia and in cooperation with foreign institutions also in a wider geographic context. Biological peculiarities of host-parasite relationships, influencing the circulation in model study sites and the local adaptations of the parasite genetic structure to available hosts and vectors and to external factors. Factors limiting the survival of parasites, their vectors, intermediate hosts, and reservoirs will be identified, and risk areas will be defined predicting the risk of spreading to new areas and infecting humans.

SOILMIC FOR - Soil microbiota in natural forest ecosystems: its response to changing biotic and abiotic factors of habitat

Pôdna mikrobiota v prírodných lesných ekosystémoch, jej odozva na meniace sa biotické a abiotické faktory habitátu

Duration: 1. 7. 2020 - 30. 6. 2024
Program: APVV
Project leader: Ing. Renčo Marek PhD.
Annotation:Soil microbiota (including microfauna) plays a key role in nutrient cycles and energy flows, regulating the supply of plant-available nutrients from the soil and hence providing essential services to the forest ecosystem. Therefore, the knowledge about the state of soil microbial and nematode community, factors influencing it and consequently ways of its management is a fundamental need not only in plant productivity, soil ecology but in ecology in general. The aim of the proposed project is to analyse and clarify the responses of soil microbiota including nematodes to variation in abiotic and biotic factors of their habitat in natural forest ecosystems at a local scale and to find out whether the responses differ at a regional and global scale. The study will be conducted at localities with different trees species (European beech and Norway spruce) in natural forest ecosystems. The following issues can be considered innovative: (i) a complex evaluation of relationships in the system plant-soil-soil microbiota, (ii) study of relationships between two groups of soil biota (soil microorganisms and nematodes), (iii) synthesis of results and data on soil microorganisms from different sites in Slovakia and abroad, which allows a certain degree of generalisation. Understanding the responses of soil microbiota to variability in vegetation and abiotic factors is vitally important for the suggestions and recommendations regarding soil protection and biodiversity conservation in relation to climate change

Direct and indirect impact of invasive plant species on soil micro and mesofauna biodiversity

Priamy a nepriamy vplyv inváznych druhov rastlín na biodiverzitu pôdnej mikro a mezofauny

Duration: 1. 1. 2020 - 31. 12. 2023
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Ing. Renčo Marek PhD.
Annotation:In our time, due to global market and goods transportation, spread of the invasive plant species (IPs) has limitless opportunities across the globe. Those species are able quickly occupy new areas; create and form completely new types of vegetation. However, their impact on soil organisms has been studied so far very little. The proposed project focuses on the basic issues about soil and plant ecology with emphasis on species diversity and structure of soil nematode communities, functional diversity of microorganisms, structure of vegetation and their interactions in natural ecosystems affected by invasion of non-native invasive plant species. Depending on the type of invasive plant project will analyse the impact of invasion on soil organisms, soil properties, and organic matter supply in soil. We will evaluate soil environment of uninvaded and invaded ecosystems where soil nematodes and microorganisms will be used as indicators. Data from natural habitats will be verified in experimental conditions.

Pet animals as effective sentinels of pathogens´ circulation with specific emphasis on vector-borne and zoonotic species

Spoločenské zvieratá ako účinný indikátor cirkulácie patogénov so špecifickým dôrazom na vektormi prenášané a zoonózne druhy

Duration: 1. 1. 2021 - 31. 12. 2024
Program: VEGA
Project leader: MVDr. Miterpáková Martina DrSc.
Annotation:Epidemiology of infectious diseases of dogs and cats is currently undergoing a phase of rapid changes. The increase in pet travel and trade, urbanisation, plus changes in climate and natural environment can alter the range and abundance of vectors and reservoirs of several serious pathogens and will probably influence the present epidemiological situation. Given that 60-80% of infections are zoonotic in nature, dogs and cats may be effective sentinel animals when assessing the infection exposure for the human population. The project primarily focuses on arthropod-borne pathogens (Anaplasma, Borrelia, Babesia,, Hepatozoon, Dirofilaria, Thelazia a.o.) circulating in different types of urban/suburban environments differing in climate, landscape and biodiversity. The outcome of the project will be a comprehensive knowledge of species composition and abundance of ticks, and epidemiologically important arthropod-borne pathogens threatening both pets and human health in highly populated urban environments.

Microbial and parasitic organisms spread under the influence of global climate, environmental and social changes

Šírenie mikrobiálnych a parazitických organizmov pod vplyvom globálnych klimatických, environmentálnych a spoločenských zmien

Duration: 1. 1. 2021 - 31. 12. 2024
Program: VEGA
Project leader: doc. RNDr. Papajová Ingrid PhD.

Projects total: 20