2012 Shadle Fellowship - Christian Miguel Pinto Baez

The Albert R. and Alma Shadle Fellowship is awarded to a graduate student in recognition of current accomplishments in Mammalogy and future potential.  Albert R. Shadle was a prominent mammalogist active in the first half of the 20th century that focused on the biology of porcupines and beavers.  Both Albert and his wife Alma had a strong commitment to the science of Mammalogy. The fellowship is intended to allow the recipient greater freedom to pursue research and to recognize excellence in Mammalogy.  This year the award was $4,346.  In addition, the Shadle Fellow receives a set of ASM Special Publications and Mammalian Species. 

Christian Miguel Pinto BaezThe 2012 recipient of the Shadle Fellowship was Christian Miguel Pinto Baez of the American Museum of Natural History and City University of New York.  He is author of 13 scientific papers, either published or in press, in journals such as Infection, Genetics and Evolution; Molecular Biology and Evolution; Emerging Infectious Diseases and Journal of Parasitology to name only a few.  Mr. Pinto has funded his research through grants, awards and fellowships from the United Nations Development Program, World Bank, and World Health Organization, a Grant-in-Aid of Research and a Latin American Student Research Award from ASM, the Robert Packard Award from the Texas Society of Mammalogists, and an Annette Kade Fellowship from the American Museum of Natural History.  Mr. Pinto has been a member of ASM since 2006 and is a life member of the Society.  He was a student member of the Board of Directors from 2007 to 2010. 

Mr. Pinto submitted a research proposal entitled “Evolution of Bat-Trypanosome Associations and the Origins of Chagas Disease.” In order to dissect multiple levels of evolutionary relationships among bats and their trypanosomes, his research will use 3 interrelated approaches: 1) a population genetics approach to species delimitation of mammalian trypanosomes using DNA sequence data of multiple loci; 2) a combination of phylogenetics and historical biogeography of bat trypanosomes to estimate the timing and  geographic source of T. cruzi; and 3) a molecular evolutionary perspective on the immunogenetic adaptations of bats to trypanosome infections. Results will elucidate key elements of bat and trypanosome biology that could be applied to other host-parasite systems, specifically evolutionary and biogeographic origins of a pathogen, and genetics adaptations of mammalian host to fight parasites.