Our Team

Alfredo Mayor

Alfredo Mayor

Research Professor Malaria, Maternal, Child & Reproductive Health

As a molecular biologist specialized in malaria parasitology, the overall goal of Dr. Mayor’s translational research is to contribute to the development of new tools for the control and eventual elimination of malaria through the understanding of key malaria physiopathology events. To achieve this, his research team ‘Malaria Physiopathology’ combines molecular biology, immunology and clinical medicine with innovation in multiplexed platforms to decipher the interplay between malaria transmission, parasite factors, immunity and disease.
Thanks to solid collaborations with the Manhiça Health Research Centre (CISM; Mozambique) and the St Joseph Catholic Hospital (SJCH; Monrovia), his group has described the immunological and parasitological factors involved in the progression of malaria disease in children and pregnant women. His group is currently applying molecular and immunological techniques to understand the physiopathology of malaria in the most vulnerable populations as well as to develop new diagnostic and surveillance tools for malaria monitoring and response in elimination contexts.

Lines of research

The overall goal of the Malaria Physiopathology group is to contribute to the development of new tools for the control and eventual elimination of malaria through the understanding of the physiopathology of malaria infections. 
The group is applying the knowledge gained on parasite sequestration and antimalarial resistance, as well as on the immune resistance mechanisms developed by the exposed hosts, to develop new approaches for malaria diagnosis and surveillance in elimination activities. To this end, we combine molecular biology, immunology, epidemiology and clinical medicine with innovation in next generation platforms for the analysis of the parasite and the host.

 The specific objectives are:
  • The study of mechanisms leading to persistence of parasite reservoirs in exposed populations (asymptomatic malaria, antimalarial/diagnostic resistance): The success of malaria control and progressing towards elimination will depend on sensitive approaches to identify persistent reservoirs of infection and anticipating parasite adaptation to pressure exerted by antimalarial drugs and diagnostic testing. We aim to develop reliable and scalable molecular methods for molecular surveillance of drug resistance, parasite diversity and diagnostic failure in elimination contexts.
  • Understanding of the mechanisms leading to severe malaria: Severe malaria is suggested to primarily result from microcirculatory dysfunctions triggered by the extensive sequestration of infected erythrocyte in the microvasculature. We aim to use molecular tools to identify molecular determinants of severity as well as miRNA-based biomarkers through next-generation sequencing approaches.
  • Evaluate the potential of pregnant women as sentinel groups for malaria surveillance: To achieve the goal of a world free of malaria, there is a need of developing robust, cost and time effective approaches that can measure and monitor changes in transmission intensities. We aim to understand the underlying biological factors that constitute the basis for an antenatal-based approach for surveillance of malaria, and apply multiplexed arrays to assess serological markers of recent malaria exposure.
  • Capacity building on malaria research in the the Post-ebola era: By October 2015, 10,666 Ebola cases and 4,806 Ebola-attributable deaths had been documented in the worst Ebola epidemic in West Africa. In close collaboration with the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trial Partnership (EDCTP), we aim to strengthen laboratory and regulatory capacities in Liberia for the research on infectious diseases.

Main publications

  • Galatas, B., Martí-Soler H, Nhamussua L, Cisteró P, Aide P, Saute F, Menéndez C, Rabinovich R, Alonso PL, Bassat Q, Mayor, A. Dynamics of afebrile Plasmodium falciparum Infections in Mozambican Men. Clin Infect Dis. 2018 Sep 14;67(7):1045-1052.
  • Gupta H, Macete E, Bulo H, Salvador C, Warsame M, Carvalho E, Ménard D, Ringwald P, Bassat Q, Enosse S, Mayor A. Drug-Resistant Polymorphisms and Copy Numbers in Plasmodium falciparum, Mozambique, 2015. Emerg Infect Dis. 2018 Jan;24(1):40-48.
  • Ndam NT, Mbuba E, González R, Cisteró P, Kariuki S, Sevene E, Rupérez M, Fonseca AM, Vala A, Maculuve S, Jiménez A, Quintó L, Ouma P, Ramharter M, Aponte JJ, Nhacolo A, Massougbodji A, Briand V, Kremsner PG, Mombo-Ngoma G, Desai M, Macete E, Cot M, Menéndez C, Mayor A. Resisting and tolerating P. falciparum in pregnancy under different malaria transmission intensities. BMC Med. 2017 Jul 17;15(1):130.
  • Magallón-Tejada A, Machevo S, Cisteró P, Lavstsen T, Aide P, Rubio M, Jiménez A, Turner L, Valmaseda A, Gupta H, De Las Salas B, Mandomando I, Wang CW, Petersen JE, Muñoz J, Gascón J, Macete E, Alonso PL, Chitnis CE, Bassat Q, Mayor A. Cytoadhesion to gC1qR through Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 in Severe Malaria. PLoS Pathog. 2016 Nov 11;12(11):e1006011.
  • Mayor A, Bardají, A, Macete E, Nhampossa T, Fonseca AM, González, R, Maculuve S, Cisteró P, Rupérez, M, Campo J, Vala A, Sigaúque B, Jimenez A, Machevo S, de la Fuente L, Nhama A, Luis L, Aponte JJ, Acácio S, Nhacolo A, Chitnis C, Dobaño C, Sevene E, Alonso PL, Menéndez C. Changing Trends in P. falciparum Burden, Immunity, and Disease in Pregnancy. N Engl J Med. 2015 Oct 22;373(17):1607-17.