Biology ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 12-31-2020


Biomphalaria snails serve as vectors for Schistosoma mansoni, a trematode causing human schistosomiasis. Control of Schistosoma mansoni involves chemotherapy of affected people, but new control methods built on improved understanding of schistosome-snail interactions are needed. My dissertation applies molecular and bioinformatics approaches to understand such interactions. Chapter 1 shows that significant differences exist among Biomphalaria species in Africa with respect to their ability to support schistosome development. Chapters 2 and 3 reveal the transcriptional responses of Biomphalaria glabrata susceptible (SUS) or resistant (RES) to Schistosoma mansoni. Chapter 2 identifies a new family of snail immune factors, the AIG family of GTPases, and highlights striking differences between SUS and RES snails in their responses to Schistosoma mansoni. Chapter 3 examines the snail FReD gene family and identifies a prominent response to Schistosoma mansoni in RES but not SUS snails. This dissertation identifies snail molecules potentially conferring resistance against schistosomes for future control efforts.




Biomphalaria glabrata, Schistosoma mansoni, Mollusca, Gene expression, GIMAP, FREP

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Coen Adema

Second Committee Member

Dr. Eric S. Loker

Third Committee Member

Dr. Si-Ming Zhang

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Maria Castillo