- Laboratory of Diagnostics and Epidemiology of Parasitic Diseases
The laboratory is engaged in diagnostics and epidemiological research of parasitic diseases in domestic and wild animals, with special emphasis on zoonoses and newly emerging species and infections caused by them (echinococcosis, trichinellosis, dirofilariosis, angiostrongylosis, and others). It participates in the detection, monitoring and reporting of important zoonotic parasitic diseases for the exigence of the State Veterinary and Food Administration, executive departments of the Slovak Republic, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), veterinarians and farmers, and the State Forests of the Tatra National Park. Further, transmission risk analyses and human infection threat are derived from data of molecular epidemiology. Phylogeographical relationships to elucidate dispersion patterns and movements of haplotypes with respect to evolutionary events that took place in concerned territories are inferred by generating parsimony networks.
- Laboratory of Human Serology
Laboratory deals with the diagnostics and epidemiology of serious parasitozoonoses of humans, primarily with echinococcosis, toxocarosis, trichinellosis, dirofilariosis and toxoplasmosis, using highly sensitive serological and molecular methods. Cultivation and analyses of Slovak Echinococcus multilocularis isolates allow their characterisation and comparison with other European isolates. In addition, it enables the production of highly specific antigens used for detection and confirmation of alveolar and cystic echinococcoses, serious human diseases. Furthermore, specific Toxocara spp. and Trichinella spp. antigens are prepared in the laboratory and used for diagnostics of human parasitic diseases and for the monitoring of epidemiological situation on the territory of the Slovak Republic.
- Laboratory of Serology
Research is based on serological and molecular examinations of neosporosis and toxoplasmosis in farm and wildlife animals (potential definitive and intermediate hosts), at the burdened areas with emphasis to obtain isolates of the causative parasites. Available serological methods used are indirect ELISA, competitive ELISA and Western blot. In vitro cultivation of parasite stages (tachyzoites of protozoa) isolated from seropositive animals serves for the preparation of own specific antigens utilized in Western blot and are used as positive controls. The research allows the recognition of risk areas with circulation of both infectious agents – Toxolasma gondii and Neospora caninum.
- Laboratory of Immunology
Immunological research is based on monitoring of the cellular and humoral immune responses of hosts to determine the host–parasite relationship. Immunogenicity of selected zoonotic parasitic infections in connection to the host immune capacity during the natural or experimental infection is studied. The research is directed towards the better understanding of an innate and adaptive immune response of the hosts and parasites. Modulations of the immune system, on cellular and molecular level, utilising experimental treatment protocols as well as immunomodulatory approaches are developed. Furthermore, the effect of exogenous environmental factors on the host immune system is being analyzed.