Welcome to the Moreno Research Group

Our laboratory works with Toxoplasma gondii, an apicomplexan parasite that infects almost one third of the world population. Toxoplasma also infects animals like cats, dogs and cattle worldwide. The infection with Toxoplasma is lifelong and it can cause encephalitis and cardiogenic shock in immuno-compromised patients. The infection of pregnant women could result in devastating effects for the unborn fetus. The pathologies associated with toxoplasmosis stem from its lytic cycle, characterized by active invasion, replication inside a parasitophorous vacuole and egress from host cells. Host cell entry is an obligatory and parasite-specific process choreographed by a unique set of proteins that are sequentially released from specific organelles termed micronemes, rhoptries and dense granules. Our laboratory is interested in discovering unique metabolic differences in Toxoplasma that could be exploited as targets for chemotherapy. The treatments available for Toxoplasmosis face multiple challenges, they are restricted to only one phase of the disease and they have harmful side effects after continuous use. A constant source of new drugs and potential drug targets is needed to stay ahead of the threat posed by this successful pathogen.