Dr. Veronica Jimenez Ortiz, Biology

Education and Professional Positions

Current Research Interests

Role of ion channels in sensing and adaptation to environmental conditions in protozoan parasites and characterization of biophysical properties of ion channels in protozoans.

Protozoan parasites have a significant impact in global health, infecting millions of people around the word. The research in my laboratory is focused in studying the role that ion channels play in sensing and adaptation to environmental conditions in protozoan parasites like Trypanosoma cruzi, causing agent of Chagas disease, and Trypanosoma brucei, the human parasite responsible for sleeping sickness.

During its life cycle, T. cruzi, the causing agent of Chagas disease, is exposed to changing external conditions and different host. Successful transmission of the parasite depends on the ability of the cells to trigger adaptive responses and cope with stressors while regulating proliferation and transition to different life stages. Ion channels are key components of the sensing machinery in all types of cells and could play an important role in adaptive responses against environmental stressors.

Our approach integrates cellular and molecular biology, parasitology and biophysics and will welcome students with different skills and interest. Our goal is to understand the role of adaptation mechanisms for the parasite survival and infectivity and to use that information for developing new therapeutic tools against tropical neglected diseases.

Selected Publications

  1. Jimenez V, Kemmerling U, Paredes R, Maya JD, Sosa MA and Galanti N. 2014. Natural sesquiterpene lactones induce programmed cell death in Trypanosoma cruzi: a new therapeutic target? Phytomedicine. Sep 25; 21(11):1411-8.
  2. Pace D, Liu J, Jimenez V and Moreno SNJ. 2014. Store-operated calcium entry in the Apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii is nifedipine sensitive and results in significant enhancement of invasion-linked traits. J Biol Chem. Jul 11;289(28):19637-47.
  3. Jimenez, V. 2014. Dealing with environmental challenges: mechanisms of adaptation in Trypanosoma cruzi. Res Microbiol. Apr 165(3):155-65.
  4. Docampo R, Jimenez V, Lander N, Li ZH and Niyogi S. New Insights into the Roles of Acidocalcisomes and the Contractile Vacuole Complex in Osmoregulation in Protists. International Review of Cell and Molecular Biology. 2013;305:69-113
  5. Jimenez V and Docampo R. 2012. Molecular and electrophysiological characterization of a novel cation channel of Trypanosoma cruzi. PLoS Pathog. 2012 Jun;8(6):e1002750.
  6. Docampo R, Jimenez V, King-Keller S, Li Z, Moreno SNJ. 2011. The Role of Acidocalcisomes in the Stress Response of Trypanosoma cruzi. Adv. Parasitol. 75: 307-24.
  7. Ulrich PN#, Jimenez V#, Park M, Martins V, Atwood J, Moles K, Collins D, Rohloff P; Tarleton R, Moreno SNJ; Orlando R, Docampo R. 2011.  Identification of contractile vacuole proteins in Trypanosoma cruzi. PlosOne. 6(3) e18013. # Both authors contributed equally.
  8. Jimenez V, Henriquez M, Galanti N, Riquelme G. 2011. Electrophysiological characterization of potassium conductive pathways in Trypanosoma cruzi. J Cell Biochem. 112 (4): 1093–1102.

Grants, Honors, and Awards

Website

http://www.fullerton.edu/biology/people/faculty/ortizvj.php