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Healthy Living Initiative. Building Health Together!
Combining scientific research and local knowledge to build living environments that deter Chagas disease.


HEALTH LIVING ENVIRONMENTSOur strategy for preventing Chagas disease and building health recognizes local capacities for identifying and solving problems and is dependent upon achieving a shared sense of ownership in al of the Healthy Living Initiative’s community-based efforts.


IDENTIFIED THROUGH MORE THAN 13 YEARS OF RESEARCHThree key elements of a healthy living environment are the core of the Initiative’s model for sustainable Chagas disease prevention and control: infrastructure, income generation and health.


WHERE WE WORKThe Healthy Living Initiative is working with communities in southern Ecuador to construct a Chagas disease prevention model with addresses the interrelated social, economic and political factors driving the disease.
Research In Our Laboratories
Research Area: Biology, Physiology, and Control of Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) of medical interest.
Lead Researcher: P/D.

We examine the diversity of Culicidae family in Ecuador, especially the effects of environmental variables on biological parameters in mosquitoes of medical interest, such as Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya, zika, and other viral diseases. We also investigate new mechanisms to control it.

Line of Research (PUCE): Health and vulnerable groups.
Research Area: Trypanosoma cruzi host/parasite interactions and epidemiology of Chagas disease in Ecuador.
Lead Researcher: Jaime Costales, PhD.

We focus on the biology of Trypanosoma cruzi, including its interaction with non-phagocytic mammalian host cells and the progression of the parasite´s intracellular cycle. Additionally, we study the epidemiology of T. cruzi in Ecuador, including the parasite´s genetic diversity and transmission patterns in different geographic regions, to facilitate the design of sound Chagas disease-control strategies in the country. We also participate in studies aimed at anti-T. cruzi drug development.
Line of Research (PUCE): Health and vulnerable groups.
Research Area: Molecular Biology Studies to Contribute in the Elimination of Malaria in Ecuador.
Lead Researcher: Fabián Sáenz, PhD.

Our research projects focus on the molecular epidemiology of Plasmodium, the parasite causing malaria. We are interested in examining the importance of asymptomatic cases in the persistence of malaria outbreaks in Ecuador, Plasmodium resistance to anti-malaria medicines, and the genetics of Plasmodium populations to determine their origin and mobility. Analyzing these topics is key to contribute to the elimination of malaria in Ecuador.
Line of Research (PUCE): Health and vulnerable groups.
Research Area: Blood Banks Reference Unit (URBS).
Lead Researcher: Rosa Chiriboga, MPH.

We develop external (PEED) and internal (PCI) quality control programs for the country’s blood services included in the Integral Public Health Network and the Complementary Private Network to provide support for the National Blood Program. Our goal is to preserve quality control, production best practices, and timely results reports of blood banks. Furthermore, we offer technical support and training for staff working in services and activities related to safe blood provisioning. We have an international certification ISO 9001-2015.

Line of Research (PUCE): Health and vulnerable groups.
Research Area: Plant Biotechnology.
Lead Researcher: P/D

We work to identify the added value of the Ecuadorian Biodiversity. We focus on the Discovery of new biocompounds found in endophitic fungi associated with different Ecuadorian ecosystems. We detect compounds antibiotic, antifungal and antiparasitic activity using standarized biological screening methods. We aim to detect que chemical compounds responsable for such activity using techniques such as HPLC, Mass Spectrophotometry, Magnetic Resonance, in collaboration with several international institutions.
Line of Research (PUCE): Biodiversity conservation.
Research Area: Diseases Ecology, Spatial Ecology, Spatial Epidemiology, Geostatistics and Ecological Niche Models.
Lead Researcher: César Yumiseva, Mtr..

We work in collaboration with other units at CISeAL in the design of data management plans for each project, as well as in evaluating its effectiveness. We offer support to different units of PUCE in the development of their projects and data management. We also work in the application of Geographical Information Systems in the ecology and epidemiology of diseases by developing predictive maps and models that allow improving vectors control.
Line of Research (PUCE): Health and vulnerable groups.
Research Area: Science applied to the prevention and control of Chagas disease. Studies of Biology, ecology, antennal phenotype, morphometry and genetic diversity of Triatomines.
Lead Researcher: Anita Villacís, Ph.D.

This area of CISeAL is in charge of the collection, identification, taxonomic classification, supervision, and maintenance of triatomine colonies. We conduct studies on life cycles, antennal phenotype, geometric morphometrics, and molecular analysis of triatomine species genetic diversity. Also, we develop molecular models of the infectious agent causing Chagas disease. We also provide consulting services and support for Chagas disease prevention campaigns in rural communities through health promotion strategies designed to be delivered in the home that include educational materials, such as brochures and digital games.

Line of Research (PUCE): Health and vulnerable groups.
Research Area: Dynamics and interactions between parasite-vector-host.
Lead Researcher: Sofía Ocaña, Ph.D.

Our research focuses on the dynamics and interactions between parasite-vector-host, which have a role in the transmission of infectious diseases, particularly, in cases of Chagas and Malaria. Our goal is to understand transmission cycles of Chagas disease in different ecological environments, molecular genetics of parasites such as Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma rangeli and the role of mammal hosts in the connections between transmission cycles. Our research in Malaria focuses in the biology of vectors in terms of diversity and use of molecular methods for its identification. In addition, we also use geometric morphometry to identify populations and to determine the resistance to insecticides.
Line of Research (PUCE): Health and vulnerable groups.
Research Area: Healthy Living Initiative: a model for the sustainable prevention of Chagas disease.
Lead Researcher: Mario J. Grijalva, Ph.D.

We aim at developing multidisciplinary research projects that improve our understanding of structural circumstances related to the occurrence of chronic and infectious diseases. Through the Healthy Living Initiative, we seek to implement our knowledge in socio-economic, behavioral, and cultural aspects of communities exposed to Chagas disease in southern Ecuador, and in the development of sustainable initiatives to combat and control Chagas disease and other illnesses affecting neglected populations. We intend to bridge the theory-practice gap, and to apply scientific and local knowledge in the developing of community-impact projects that advance family and individual health and wellbeing.
Line of Research (PUCE): Health and vulnerable groups.
Area of Research: Epidemiology of infectious diseases and evaluation of social and biomedical programs on public health.
Lead Researcher: Ana Lucía Moncayo, PhD.

Our research focuses on infeccious and chronical diseases determinants (biologicals, socioeconomics, environmentals, etc.) in order to provide scientific evidence to public health workers so that they can take decisions, develop politics and implement programs. We also work in the evaluation of politics and programs in public health, so that health authorities, based on facts, can know programs performance and revise or redifine its objectives.

Line of Research (PUCE): Health and vulnerable groups.
Area of Research: Cytogenetics and amphibian biomolecules.
Lead Researcher: Miryan Rivera, Mtr.

We focus on the analysis of Ecuadorian amphibian’s skins secretions with the purpose of determining its possible biomedical implications. The “in vitro” results achieved until now, allowed to determine that these secretions are capable of inhibit multi-resistant bacteria growth, fungi growth, malignant cells of acute and chronic lymphocytic leukemia and lung cancer, without causing any harm to healthy cells. In addition, we carry out cytogenetic analyzes of Ecuadorian amphibian species, for taxonomic purposes.
Line of Research (PUCE): 1. Health and vulnerable groups. 2. Biodiversity conservation.
Research Area: Healthy Living Initiative, Biodiversity Conservation, Scientific Communication.
Lead Researcher: Esteban Baus, Mtr.

We work on the “Healthy Living Initiative”, led by a multidisciplinary team, to understand the biological, social, and environmental determinants that cause Chagas disease. Through the “Healthy Homes for Healthy Living” strategy, we build healthy environments that constitute real physical barriers between triatomines and those who live in Loja Province’s rural areas. At ComCiencia lab, we link science, communication and community to increase awareness of how the academic world solves our society’s problems.
Line of Research (PUCE): Health and vulnerable groups.