Trypanosoma cruzi is a zoonotic pathogen that affects 6-8 million people in Latin America. Interest in the genetic diversity of T. cruzi burgeoned in the late 1970s with the advent allozymic technology and has been growing even since. We know now that T. cruzi is actually a complex of four major genetic lineages with distinct but sometimes overlapping ecologies. Two further lineages are recent hybrids whose emergence may be timed with the arrival of humans in Latin America.
Much of out research in the lab is focusses at the molecular epidemiology of T. cruzi. Specifically, our research using higher resolution population genetic profiling using microsatellites has opened the door to finer scale molecular tracking studies, source attribution of oral outbreaks and increasingly concrete recommendations for effective disease control. Population studies of genomic diversity in T. cruzi are just around the corner.