Biologist Luiz Gustavo Gardinassi studies infection tolerance, a curious phenomenon where people who contract malaria a second time experience a milder version of the disease. Gardinassi’s central hypothesis is that the intestinal microbiome, the complex network of microorganisms that live in our digestive tract, plays a role in infection tolerance.
Born and raised in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, Gardinassi holds a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of São Paulo, a master’s degree in microbiology from São Paulo State University, and a bachelor’s degree from the same institution. Using his computational skills, the biologist brings modern biology to traditional bench science.
In addition to his dedication to the intestinal biome, the scientist spends time with his partner watching comedies and taking care of their dog, Cacau. He enjoys good music, especially rock, hip-hop, jazz, and samba.
Malaria is a parasitic disease that can be fatal. However, the severity of the disease gradually decreases with each new episode, a phenomenon known as infection tolerance. The underlying mechanisms of infection tolerance are still poorly understood, but it is known that tolerant individuals have molecular differences that impact their immune response and metabolism. The gut microbiome, a complex community of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that live in the digestive tract, plays a critical role in human physiology, including the immune system and metabolism. Therefore, we hypothesize that the gut microbiome is a key component in the development of tolerance to malaria.
To test this hypothesis, we will investigate the microbial profile in feces and the epigenetic, transcriptional, and metabolic profile in the blood of malaria patients using multi-omics tools and computational biology. We hope to identify molecular mechanisms coordinated by the gut microbiome that protect against malaria.