Alexandra Fraga

  • mycobacterioses
  • tropical negelcetd diseases
  • buruli ulcer
  • host genetics
  • immunology of infection

Alexandra G. Fraga graduated in 2003 in Applied Biology and in 2010 recieved a PhD in Health Sciences from the Univeristy of Minho (UM). Bewteen 2011 and 2019 she developed her postdoctoral studies at the Microbiology and Infection Research Domain at the Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), during which she focused on studying the spontaneous healing process of experimental Buruli ulcer, using RNA-Sequencing in animal models of resistance (guinea pigs) and susceptibility (mice) to Mycobacterium ulcerans infection. From 2019 and 2021, she was a junior researcher and her research focused on the identification of the regulatory effects of interindividual genetic variation on molecular and cellular processes of mycobacterial immunity, as well as on the modulation of the host immune response/bacterial activity by using new vaccine strategies and systems of antimicrobial drug delivery. She is currently continuing this line of research as a Research Assitant at the InflammaSignal team at the ICVS. She is recently an Assistant Professor at the School of Medicine, UM. Her track record includes 36 peer-reviewed research articles and 1 book chapter, with an h-index of 19, an accumulated IF of 164 and over 1400 citations. She has been supported by several funding agencies (e.g., InfectERA, la Caixa Foundation, FCT, ESCMID) and contracts with the industry (e.g., Amicus Therapeutics and GSK). She is currently supervising/co-supervising 2 PhD students and has successfully concluded the orientation of 6 MSc students. She is the Biosaftey Coordinator at the ICVS and is the ICVS representative of the Portuguese Biosafety Laboratory Network, Lab-PTBioNet. She has FELASA Category C accreditation for animal experimentation by the Portuguese National Authority for Animal Health (DGAV) and a vast experience in the mouse and guinea pig model of infection under BSL2 and BSL3 conditions.

Scientific Highlights

1. Contribution in the characterization of the host inflammatory response to M. ulcerans;

2. First description of an intracellular growth phase for M. ulcerans;

3. Elucidation of mechanisms of macrophage-mediated immune control for this pathogen;

4. First description of teh guinea pig as a model of sponatenous healing for M. ulcerans infection;

5. Identification of host genetic factors associated with suscpetibility/resistance to Buruli Ulcer.


Immunometabolic requirements in Buruli Ulcer

Mycobacterium ulcerans is the causative agent of Buruli Ulcer (BU), a neglected tropical disease characterized by extensive necrotic skin lesions. M. ulcerans, although an intracellular pathogen, is able to secrete a cytotoxic and immunosuppressive toxin – mycolactone…

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Novel Biomarkers in Fabry disease Progression

Fabry disease (FD) a is multi-systemic, X-linked lysosomal storage disease caused by a range of mutations in the GLA gene that encodes for alpha-galactosidase A (α-gal A). Mutations leading to a deficient or absent activity of the enzyme α-gal A result in a progressive accumulation…

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