Our Team

Azucena Bardají

Azucena Bardají

Associate Research Professor Maternal, Child and Reproductive Health, Malaria, Maternal, Child & Reproductive Health

Dr Azucena Bardají is a clinical researcher whose research interests have been always directed towards diseases affecting most vulnerable populations and linked to poverty-related diseases.

Her main areas of interest have been malaria in pregnancy, with particular focus on understanding the burden and impact of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax, the physiopathological mechanisms involved on malaria infection in the placenta, and the evaluation of preventive strategies such as bednets and intermittent preventive treatment with antimalarial drugs.

She has also worked on the evaluation of the impact of HIV/AIDS on maternal and infant health in Africa, and on the assessment of the acceptability of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine among pre-adolescents, and the most adequate strategies for HPV vaccine delivery in Mozambique. Over the last few years, she has also studied the effect of Zika virus in pregnancy on maternal and foetal health, and the long-term consequences on child neurodevelopment.

Currently, her main interests are related to the understanding of the burden of diseases preventable through maternal immunization (respiratory syncytial virus, group B Streptococcus, influenza and pertussis) in low-income countries, and the determinants of a successful introduction of maternal immunization strategies in these regions.

Lines of research

  • Burden and impact of relevant maternal immunization-preventable diseases in pregnant women and infants
  • Evaluation of the safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of maternal vaccines
  • Effect of maternal infections (malaria and HIV infection) on responses to maternal vaccinations
  • Barriers and facilitators for optimal delivery of maternal immunization strategies
  • Effect of emerging infectious diseases (e.g. Zika, COVID-19…) in pregnancy on maternal, foetal and infant health
  • Malaria in pregnancy: burden and impact (Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax) and evaluation of preventive strategies

Main publications

  • Goncé A, Martínez MJ, Marbán-Castro E, Saco A, Soler A, Alvarez-Mora MI, Peiro A, Gonzalo V, Hale G, Bhatnagar J, López M, Zaki S, Ordi J, Bardají A. Spontaneous Abortion Associated with Zika Virus Infection and Persistent Viremia. Emerg Infect Dis. 2018 May;24(5):933-935. doi: 10.3201/eid2405.171479
  • Bardají A, Mindu C, Augusto OJ, Casellas A, Cambaco O, Simbine E, Matsinhe G, Macete E, Menéndez C, Sevene E, Munguambe K. Awareness of cervical cancer and willingness to be vaccinated against human papillomavirus in Mozambican adolescent girls. Papillomavirus Res. 2018 Apr 14;5:156-162. doi: 10.1016/j.pvr.2018.04.004
  • DeSilva M, Munoz FM, Sell E, Marshall H, Tse Kawai A, Kachikis A, Heath P, Klein NP, Oleske JM, Jehan F, Spiegel H, Nesin M, Tagbo BN, Shrestha A, Cutland CL, Eckert LO, Kochhar S, Bardají A. Congenital microcephaly: Case definition & guidelines for data collection, analysis, and presentation of safety data after maternal immunisation. Brighton Collaboration Congenital Microcephaly Working Group. Vaccine. 2017 Dec 4;35(48 Pt A):6472-6482. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.01.044
  • Bardají A, Martínez-Espinosa FE, Arévalo-Herrera M, Padilla N, Kochar S, Ome-Kaius M, Bôtto-Menezes C, Castellanos ME, Kochar DK, Kochar SK, Betuela I, Mueller I, Rogerson S, Chitnis C, Hans D, Menegon M, Severini C, del Portillo H, Dobaño C, Mayor A, Ordi J, Piqueras M, Sanz S, Wahlgren M, Slutsker L, Desai M and Menéndez C for the PregVax Study Group. Burden and impact of Plasmodium vivax in pregnancy: a multi-centre prospective observational study. PLoS Neg Trop Med, Jun 2017. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005606
  • Bardají A., Sigauque B, Sanz S., Maixenchs M., Ordi J., Aponte JJ, Mabunda S, Alonso PL, Menéndez C. Impact of malaria at the end of pregnancy on infant mortality and morbidity. J Infect Dis. 2011 Jan 3. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiq049