Antonella Eugenia Bacigalupo Bacigalupo



Research title: Genomic basis for adaptation in triatomines, vectors of Chagas disease

Research Summary

The process by which insects adapt to a new food source – blood – and to a new ecotope – human dwellings –, are two of the most important phenomena in medical entomology. Understanding the genomic basis of the adaptations for hematophagy  and domiciliation is of paramount importance for control, to generate targeted interventions against vectors of diseases.

Trypanosoma cruzi is a protozoan parasite that infects triatomine insect vectors and mammals, causing Chagas disease in humans, a cardiac and digestive chronic illness endemic in the Americas. Triatomines are haematophagous vectors, grouped in the Subfamily Triatominae, which in turn is part of the Family Reduviidae, which encompasses entomophagous insects. Within this Subfamily, there are species that inhabit sylvatic ecotopes, while others have adapted to peridomiciliary and domiciliary ecotopes.

To study their adaptation and evolution within Reduviidae, methodologies that provide high resolution by means of including many genetic markers simultaneously are required. The genomic approach and new generation sequencing technologies are powerful tools for this task. By comparative genomics, we will analyse the genome of selected triatomine species with respect to a predatory reduviid and other hemipteran ancestors. Using genome wide analyses, we will investigate triatomine species that inhabit sylvatic and domiciliary ecotopes.



  1. PÉREZ, G.; MUÑOZ-SAN MARTÍN, C.; CHACÓN, F.; BACIGALUPO, A.; CATTAN, P.E.; SOLÍS, R. 2021. Modification of the daily activity pattern of the diurnal triatomine Mepraia spinolai (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) induced by Trypanosoma cruzi (Trypanosomatida: Trypanosomatidae) infection. J. Med. Entomol.: tjab118.

  2. CORREA, J.P.; BACIGALUPO, A.; YEFI-QUINTEROS, E.; ROJO, G.; SOLARI, A.; CATTAN, P.E. BOTTO-MAHAN, C. 2020. Trypanosomatid infections among vertebrates of Chile: A systematic review. Pathogens 9(8): 661.

  3. ESTAY-OLEA, D.; CORREA, J.P.; DE BONA, S.; BACIGALUPO, A.; QUIROGA, N.; SAN JUAN, E.; SOLARI, A.; BOTTO-MAHAN, C. 2020. Trypanosoma cruzi could affect wild triatomine approaching behaviour to humans by altering vector nutritional status: A field test. Acta Trop. 210: 105574.
  4. ROJO, G.; PÈLISSIER, F.; SANDOVAL-RODRIGUEZ, A.; BACIGALUPO, A.; GARCÍA, V.; PINTO, R.; ORTIZ, S.; BOTTO-MAHAN, C.; CATTAN, P.E.; SOLARI, A. 2020. Organs infected with Trypanosoma cruzi and DTU identification in the naturally infected rodent Octodon degus. Exp. Parasitol. 215:
  5. BOTTO-MAHAN, C.; BACIGALUPO, A.; CORREA, J.P.; FONTÚRBEL, F.E.; CATTAN, P.E.; SOLARI, A. 2020. Prevalence, infected density or individual probability of infection? Assessing vector infection risk in the wild transmission of Chagas disease. Proc. Roy. Soc. B 287(1922): 20193018.
  6. GARRIDO, R.; BACIGALUPO, A.; PEÑA-GÓMEZ, F.; BUSTAMANTE, R.O.; CATTAN, P.E.; GORLA, D.E.; BOTTO-MAHAN, C. 2019. Potential impact of climate change on the geographical distribution of two wild vectors of Chagas disease in Chile: Mepraia spinolai and Mepraia gajardoi. Parasit. Vectors 12(1): 478.
  7. IHLE-SOTO, C.; COSTOYA, E.; CORREA, J.P.; BACIGALUPO, A.; CORNEJO-VILLAR, B; ESTADELLA, V.; SOLARI, A.; ORTIZ, S.; HERNÁNDEZ, H.J.; BOTTO-MAHAN, C.; GORLA, D.E.; CATTAN, P.E. 2019. Spatio-temporal characterization of Trypanosoma cruzi infection and discrete typing units infecting hosts and vectors from non-domestic foci of Chile. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 13(2): e0007170.
  8. ALANIZ, A.J.; CARVAJAL, M.A.; BACIGALUPO, A.; CATTAN, P.E. 2019. Global spatial assessment of Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus: A scenario of Zika virus exposure. Epidemiol. Infect 147: e52.
  9. YEFI-QUINTEROS, E.; MUÑOZ-SAN MARTÍN, C.; BACIGALUPO, A.; CORREA, J.P.; CATTAN, P.E. 2018. Trypanosoma cruzi load in synanthropic rodents from rural areas in Chile. Parasit. Vectors 11: 171.
  10. ALANIZ, A.J.; BACIGALUPO, A.; CATTAN, P.E. 2017. Spatial quantification of the world population potentially exposed to Zika virus. J. Epidemiol. 46: dyw366. 10 p. 
  11. CORREA, J.P.; BACIGALUPO, A.; BOTTO-MAHAN, C.; BUCAREY, S.; CATTAN, P.E.; GARCÍA DE CORTÁZAR, R.; LANDAETA-AQUEVEQUE, C.; RAMÍREZ-ESTRADA, J. Natural infection of Leptospira species in the native rodents degu (Octodon degus) and Darwin’s pericote (Phyllotis darwini) in Mediterranean ecosystem of Chile. J. Wildlife Dis.53(3): 677-680.
  12. ALANIZ, A.J.; BACIGALUPO, A.; CATTAN, P.E. Zika: Probabilidad de establecimiento de su vector, Aedes aegypti, en Chile. Rev. Chil. Infectol. 34(6): 553-556.
  13. CHACÓN, F.; BACIGALUPO, A.; QUIROGA, J.F.; FERREIRA, A.; CATTAN, P.E.; RAMÍREZ-TOLOZA G. 2016. Feeding profile of Mepraia spinolai, a sylvatic vector of Chagas disease in Chile. Acta Trop. 162: 171-173.
  14. BOTTO-MAHAN, C.; CORREA, J.P.; BACIGALUPO, A.; CAMPOS-SOTO, R.; CATTAN, P.E.; SOLARI, A. 2015. Ecología de los triatominos silvestres endémicos de Chile. Latinoam. 64(3): 12-19
  15. CORREA, J.P.; BACIGALUPO, A.; FONTÚRBEL, F.E.; ODA, E.; CATTAN, P.E.; SOLARI, A.; BOTTO-MAHAN, C. 2015. Spatial distribution of an infectious disease in a small mammal community. Nat. 102: 51 (4 p.).
  16. BACIGALUPO, A.; CORREA, J.P.; GARCÍA, A.; CATTAN, P.E. 2015. Focos silvestres de Triatoma infestans en Latinoamérica: análisis y perspectivas para Chile. Parasitol. Latinoam. 64(3): 27-35.
  17. ESTADELLA, V.; BACIGALUPO, A.; CATTAN, P.E. 2015. Densidad relativa de Mepraia spinolai (Triatominae) y su frecuencia de infección por Trypanosoma cruzi en Chile. Parasitol. Latinoam. 64(3): 36-45.
  18. HERNÁNDEZ, J.; NÚÑEZ, I.; BACIGALUPO, A.; CATTAN, P.E. 2013. Modeling the spatial distribution of Chagas disease vectors using environmental variables and people’s knowledge. Int. J. Health Geog. 12(1): 29 (10 p.).
  19. MARTI, G.A.; ECHEVERRÍA, M.C.; SUSEVICH, M.L.; CECCARELLI, S.; BALSALOBRE, A.; ... BACIGALUPO, A.; ... RABINOVICH, J.E.;  DIOTAIUTI, L.; GUÉRIN, D.M.A. 2013. Exploration for Triatoma virus (TrV) infection in laboratory-reared triatomines of Latin America: a collaborative study. Int. J. Trop. Insect Sci. 33(4): 294-304.
  20. BACIGALUPO, A.; SEGOVIA, V.; GARCÍA, A.; BOTTO-MAHAN, C.; ORTIZ, S.; SOLARI, A.; ACUNA-RETAMAR, M.; TORRES-PÉREZ, F.; CATTAN, P.E. 2012. Differential pattern of infection of sylvatic nymphs and domiciliary adults of Triatoma infestans with Trypanosoma cruzi genotypes in Chile. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 83(3): 473-480.
  21. BOTTO-MAHAN, C.; BACIGALUPO, A.; CORREA, J.P.; ODA, E.; SOLARI, A. 2012. Field assessment of Trypanosoma cruzi infection and host survival in the native rodent Octodon degus. Acta Trop. 122: 164-167.
  22. TORRES-PÉREZ, F.; ACUNA-RETAMAR, M.; COOK, J.A.; BACIGALUPO, A.; GARCÍA, A.; CATTAN, P.E. 2011. Statistical phylogeography of Chagas disease vector Triatoma infestans: Testing biogeographic hypotheses of dispersal. Inf. Gen. Evol. 11: 167-174.
  23. BACIGALUPO, A.; TORRES-PÉREZ, F.; SEGOVIA, V.; GARCÍA, A.; CORREA, J.P.; MORENO, L.; ARROYO, P.; CATTAN, P.E. 2010. Sylvatic foci of the Chagas disease vector Triatoma infestans in Chile: description of a new focus and challenges for control programs. Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz 105(5): 633-641.
  24. GALUPPO, S.; BACIGALUPO, A.; GARCÍA, A.; ORTIZ, S.; CORONADO, X.; CATTAN, P.E.; SOLARI, A. 2009. Predominance of Trypanosoma cruzi genotypes in two reservoirs infected by sylvatic Triatoma infestans of an endemic area of Chile. Acta Trop. 111: 90-93.
  25. MORENO, L.; LÁRTIGA, N.; PUEBLA, M.; BACIGALUPO, A.; GARCÍA, A.; TORRES-PÉREZ, F.; CATTAN, P.E. 2009. Estudio comparativo de ejemplares de Triatoma infestans provenientes de poblaciones silvestres y de laboratorio, mediante morfometría geométrica. Rev. Ibero-Latinoam. Parasitol. 68(2): 130-136.
  26. BACIGALUPO, A.; SEGURA, J.A.; GARCÍA, A.; HIDALGO, J.; GALUPPO, S.; CATTAN, P.E. 2006. Primer hallazgo de vectores de Chagas asociados a matorrales silvestres en la Región Metropolitana, Chile. Rev. Med. Chil. 134(10): 1230-1236.


Lister Bellahouston travelling fellowship 2019/2020


  • British Society for Parasitology Conference Parasites online, 21-25 June 2021:  “Whole genome sequencing of the Chagas disease vector Rhodnius ecuadoriensis”.
  • Arthropod Genomics Symposium 2020, 21-23 July 2020: "Triatomine genomics: De novo assembly of Rhodnius ecuadoriensis, Chagas disease vector"