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Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz receives Odile Bain Memorial Prize for research in parasitology

On 7 September 2017, the journal Parasites & Vectors and the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim awarded Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz the Odile Bain Memorial Prize. The move comes as a welcome recognition of this promising young researcher who recently joined INRA’s Parasitic Molecular Biology and Immunology research unit to help further knowledge of vector-borne diseases.

On 7 September 2017, Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz received the Odile Bain Memorial Prize, awarded by the journal Parasites & Vectors and the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim. The prize was presented to him by Lénaïg Halos of Boehringer Ingelheim © AAVP2017
By Christine Jez, translated by Inge Laino
Updated on 10/05/2017
Published on 09/21/2017

Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz is a veterinarian and has a PhD in cell and molecular biology. At just 34 years old, he has an impressive record as a researcher in vector-borne diseases. The Odile Bain Prize was presented to him by Lénaïg Halos of Boehringer Ingelheim during the 26th international conference of the Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology.

Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz began his career in the corporate world in applied research on the development of recombinant vaccines against the cattle tick. He then joined the world of academia, working in university labs and pursing further studies. Between 2013 and 2017 he enrolled in two doctoral programmes, one at the University of Lille focussing on the epigenetics of a flatworm parasite (Schistosoma mansoni), the other at the University of Castilla-La Mancha on the epidemiology of bacterial pathogens borne by ticks. During this time he published 65 articles, 26 of them as first author, which appeared in such prestigious journals as The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Trends in Parasitology, Trends in Microbiology, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, PLoS Pathogens and PLoS Genetics.

In February 2017, INRA recruited Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz as a research scientist in its Joint Research Unit for Parasitic Molecular Biology and Immunology (INRA, Anses, EnvA) in Maisons Alfort. His skills range from advanced technology (transcriptomics, proteomics and genomics) to broader approaches of systems biology and ecological networks - a winning combination to further science’s understanding of how vector-borne diseases are transmitted and spread.

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Animal Health
Associated Centre(s):
Jouy-en-Josas

Odile Bain Memorial Prize

The Odile Bain Memorial Prize (OBMP) is awarded each year by the journal Parasites & Vectors, in association with Boehringer Ingelheim, to pay homage to Odile Bain (28 April 1939 – 16 October 2012), a French parasitologist who worked most of her life at the French national museum of natural history (MNHN). Her efforts to encourage productive collaboration among biologists, veterinarians, doctors and fundamental and applied parasitologists the world over have helped shape research into parasitic infections.

The prize consists of a 1500-euro grant and exemption of fees for publishing articles in Parasites & Vectors. Winners also receive funds to attend the awards ceremony at the international conference of the Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology.

Mini CV

Research experience

  • Since February 2017: Research Scientist, Joint Research Unit for Parasitic Molecular Biology and Immunology (BIPAR) INRA-Anses-EnvA
  • Since October 2016: Head of laboratory, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Institute of Parasitology, České Budějovice, Czech Republic
  • 2011: Researcher, laboratory of Dr. Sophie Van Linthout, Charité university hospital, Berlin, Germany
  • 2010: Researcher, laboratory of Dr. Pat Nuttall, University of Oxford, UK
  • 2006 – 2010: Researcher, Centre for genetic engineering and biotechnology (CIGB), Cuba

 Education

  • 2016: PhD molecular and cellular biology, University of Lille 2, Institut Pasteur de Lille, Lille, France
  • 2014: PhD in basic and applied research in natural resources, University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM), Ciudad Real, Spain
  • 2013: Masters in parasitology, University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice, Czech Republic. Recipient of a Marie Curie grant for 2012-2013
  • 2006: Doctor of veterinary medicine, Agricultural University of Havana (UNAH), Havana, Cuba

Selection of publications

  • Cabezas-Cruz A., et al. 2017. Effect of blood type on anti-α-Gal immunity and the incidence of infectious diseases. Experimental and Molecular Medicine. 49(3): e301.
  • Cabezas-Cruz A., et al. 2017. Ixodes scapularis tick cells control Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection by increasing the synthesis of phosphoenolpyruvate from tyrosine. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology. 7: 375.
  • Cabezas-Cruz A., et al. 2015. Regulation of the immune response to α-gal and vector-borne diseases. Trends in Parasitology. 31(10): 470-476.
  • Cabezas-Cruz A & Valdés J J. 2014. Are ticks venomous animals? Frontiers in Zoology. 11: 47.
  • Cabezas-Cruz A., et al. 2014. Cancer research meets tick vectors for infectious diseases. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 14(10): 916-917.

See other publications of Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz on ResearchGate