Ana M. Espino, Ph.D

Educational Background:

  • B.S. Biochemistry, University of Havana, Cuba, 1982
  • M.Sc. Parasitology / Parasite Immunology, Institute of Tropical Medicine ‘Pedro Kourí”, Havana, Cuba, 1987.
  • Ph.D. Parasite Immunology / Medical Sciences, Institute of Tropical Medicine ‘Pedro Kourí”, Havana, Cuba, 1997.
  • Post-Doc. Molecular Parasitology, Department of Pathology, University of Puerto Rico, School of Medicine, 1998-2002

Academic Position, Address, Telephone & E-Mail:

Laboratory of Immunology and Molecular Parasitology
Department of Microbiology, Office/Lab. A-386
Tel: (787) 758-2525 Ext 1318


Field of Interest: Parasite Immunology and Molecular Biology

  • Innate and adaptive immunity against Fasciola hepatica antigens: Current studies will determine the role of fatty acid binding protein and glutathione S-transerase in the immunomodulation mechanisms used by the parasitic helminth Fasciola hepatica to induce chronic diseases and perpetuate its longevity in the mammalian host. We will focus in the interaction of these proteins with toll-like receptors of macrophages and dendritic cells.
  • The parasitic helminth Fasciola hepatica: A pharmacopeia of anti-inflammatory molecules: We are focused in the identification and characterization of parasite molecules with potential to develop novel anti-inflammatory drugs that are effective against sepsis, arthritis and ulcerative colitis. We have already identified a molecule with powerful anti-inflammatory properties termed Fh12, which is highly effective suppressing a large number of inflammatory markers and preventing the septic shock in a mouse model. Current studies will determine the effectiveness of Fh12 at early phases in a non-human primate septic shock model and will determine the spectrum of action of this molecule against a wide range of bacteria strains.
  • Proteomic and genomic: Current studies using advanced proteomic or genomic technologies will allow determine the gene expression and proteins of macrophages or dendritic cells that are down-regulated or up-regulated during exposition of phagocytes to hepatica antigens at early phases of infection. These strategies will allow elucidate the mechanisms of action of parasitic molecules and advance in our understanding of the host-parasite relationship leading the development of vaccines and novel anti-inflammatory drugs.

Publications selected from a list of + 40 publications

  1. Jose J. Rosado-Franco, Marcos J. Ramos-Benitez, Laura M. Parodi, Derick Rosario, Nicole Compo, Luis D. Giavedoni, and Ana M. Espino. Outlining key inflammation-associated parameters during early phase of an experimental gram-negative sepsis model in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Animal Models and Experimental Medicine (Accepted).
  2. Aguayo, V. Valdes BN, Rodriguez-Valentin, M., Ruiz-Jimenez, C., Ramos-Benitez, M. Mendez LB, Espino AM. Fasciola hepatica GST down regulates NF-κB pathway effectors and inflammatory cytokines while promoting survival in a mouse septic shock model. Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 19; 9(1): 2275. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37652-x.
  3. Ramos-Benitez, M., Ruiz-Jimenez, C., Ramos-Perez, W.D., Mendez, LB., Osuna A., Espino AM. Fh15 blocks the LPS-induced cytokine storm while modulating peritoneal macrophage migration and CD38 expression within spleen macrophages in a mouse model of septic shock. mSphere mSphere 2018 Dec 19; 3(6). pii: e00548-18. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00548-18. PMID: 30567900.
  4. Gomez-Samblas M, Bernal D, Bolado-Ortiz A, Vilchez S, Bolás-Fernández F, Espino AM, Trelis M, Osuna A. Intraperitoneal administration of the anti-IL-23 antibody prevents the establishment of intestinal nematodes in mice. Scientific Report, 2018 May 17;8(1): 7787. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-26194-x. PMID: 29773890.
  5. Ramos-Benitez, M, Ruiz-Jimenez C, Aguayo V., Espino AM. Recombinant Fasciola hepatica fatty acid binding protein suppresses toll-like receptor stimulation in response to multiple bacterial ligands. Scientific Reports 2017, 7:5455. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-05735. PMID: 28710478.
  6. Figueroa-Santiago, O, Espino AM. Fasciola hepatica ESPs could indistinctly activate or block multiple toll-like receptors in a human monocyte cell line. Annals of Clinical Pathology 2017, 5 (3): 1112. PMID: 29152559
  7. Gomez-Samblas M, García-Rodríguez JJ, Trelis M, Bernal D, Lopez-Jaramillo FJ, Santoyo-Gonzalez F, Vilchez S, Espino AM, Bolás-Fernández F, Osuna A. Self-adjuvanting C18 lipid vinil sulfone-PP2A vaccine: study of the induced immunomodulation against Trichuris muris infection. Open Biology 2017 Apr; 7(4). pii: 170031. DOI: 10.1098/rsob.170031. PMID: 28404797
  8. Shin SH, Hsu A, Chastain HM, Cruz LA, Elder ES, Sapp SG, McAuliffe I, Espino AM, Handali S. Development of Two FhSAP2 Recombinant-Based Assays for Immunodiagnosis of Human Chronic Fascioliasis. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 2016 Oct 5; 95(4): 852-855. PMID: 27549636
  9. De Pablos LM, Díaz Lozano IM, Jercic MI, Quinzada M, Giménez MJ, Calabuig E, Espino AM, Schijman AG, Zulantay I, Apt W, Osuna A. The C-terminal region of Trypanosoma cruzi MASPs is antigenic and secreted via exovesicles. Scientific Reports, 2016, 6:27293. PMID: 27549636.
  10. Rivera F, Espino AM. Adjuvant-enhanced antibody and cellular responses to inclusion bodies expressing FhSAP2 correlates with protection of mice to Fasciola hepatica. Experimental Parasitology 2016, 160: 31-8. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2015.11.002. PMID: 26632503
  11. Martin I, Caban-Hernandez K., Figueroa-Santiago O, Espino A.M. Fasciola hepatica fatty acid binding protein inhibits TLR4 activation and suppresses the inflammatory cytokines induced by LPS in vitro and in vivo. Journal of Immunology 2015, 194 (8): 3924-36. PMID: 25780044
  12. Figueroa-Santiago O, Espino AM. Fasciola hepatica fatty acid binding protein induces the alternative activation of human macrophages. Infection and Immunity 2014, 82 (12): 5005-12. PMID: 25225247
  13. Cabán-Hernández K, Gaudier JF, Ruiz-Jiménez C, Espino AM. Development of two-antibody detection enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for serodiagnosis of human chronic fascioliasis. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2014, 52(3): 766-72. PMID: 24353000
  14. Cabán-Hernández K, Espino AM. Differential expression and localization of saposin-like protein 2 of Fasciola hepatica. Acta Tropica 2013, 128(3): 591-7. PMID: 23988299
  15. Morales A, Espino AM. Evaluation and characterization of Fasciola hepatica tegument protein extract for serodiagnosis of human fascioliasis. Clinical and Vaccine Immunology 2012, 19(11): 1870-8. PMID: 23015645
  16. Gaudier JF, Cabán-Hernández K, Osuna A, Espino AM. Biochemical characterization and differential expression of a 16.5-kilodalton tegument-associated antigen from the liver fluke Fasciola hepatica. Clinical and Vaccine Immunology 2012, 19 (3): 325-33. PMID: 22278327
  17. Cabán-Hernández K, Gaudier JF, Espino AM. Characterization and differential expression of a ferritin protein from Fasciola hepatica. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology 2012, 182(1-2): 54-61. PMID: 22240114
  18. Figueroa-Santiago O, Delgado B, Espino AM. Fasciola hepatica saposin-like protein-2-based ELISA for the serodiagnosis of chronic human fascioliasis. Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. 2011, 70 (3): 355-61. PMID: 21683266
  19. Boukli NM, Delgado B, Ricaurte M, Espino AM. Fasciola hepatica and Schistosoma mansoni: identification of common proteins by comparative proteomic analysis. Journal of Parasitology 2011, 97(5): 852-61. PMID: 21506812
  20. Solano-Parada J, Gonzalez-Gonzalez G, Torró LM, dos Santos MF, Espino AM, Burgos M, Osuna A. Effectiveness of intranasal vaccination against Angiostrongylus costaricensis using a serine/threonine phosphatase 2 A synthetic peptide and recombinant antigens. Vaccine. 2010, 19; 28(32): 5185-96. PMID: 20558243
  21. Espino AM, Morales A, Delgado B, Rivera FM, Figueroa O, Suárez E. Partial immunity to Fasciola hepatica in mice after vaccination with FhSAP2 delivered as recombinant protein or DNA construct. Ethnicity and Disease 2010, 20 (1 Suppl 1): S1-17-23. PMID: 20521379
  22. Espino AM, Rivera F. Quantitation of cytokine mRNA by real-time RT-PCR during a vaccination trial in a rabbit model of fascioliasis. Veterinary Parasitology 2010, 19; 169(1-2): 82-92. PMID: 20056331
  23. Espino AM, Torres D, Morales A, Delgado B, Quetel J, Osuna A. Fasciola hepatica: identification of CD4+ T-helper epitopes from the 11.5 kDa saposin-like protein SAP-2 using synthetic peptides. Experimental Parasitology 2007, 117(1): 65-73. PMID: 17475253
  24. Torres D, Espino AM. Mapping of B-cell epitopes on a novel 11.5-kilodalton Fasciola hepatica-Schistosoma mansoni cross-reactive antigen belonging to a member of the F. hepatica saposin-like protein family. Infection and Immunity 2006, 74(8): 4932-8. PMID: 16861685
  25. Espino A. M, Osuna A, Gil R, Hillyer GV. Fasciola hepatica: humoral and cytokine responses to a member of the saposin-like protein family following delivery as a DNA vaccine in mice. Experimental Parasitology 2005, 110 (4): 374-83. PMID: 15907838
  26. Espino A. M, Hillyer GV. A novel Fasciola hepatica saposin-like recombinant protein with immunoprophylactic potential. Journal of Parasitology 2004, 90(4): 876-9. PMID: 15357089
  27. Espino AM, Hillyer GV. Molecular cloning of a member of the Fasciola hepatica saposin-like protein family. Journal of Parasitology 2003, 89(3): 545-52. PMID: 12880256
  28. Espino A.M, Rodríguez Medina JR, Hillyer GV. Isolation and immunological characterization of fatty acid binding protein isoforms from Fasciola hepatica. Journal of Parasitology 2001, 87(5): 1028-33. PMID: 11695360
  29. Espino AM, Hillyer GV. Identification of fatty acid molecules in a Fasciola hepatica immunoprophylactic fatty acid-binding protein. Journal of Parasitology 2001, 87(2): 426-8. PMID: 11318577


Espino AM, Dumenigo BE, Fasciola hepatica: Immnunodiagnosis, Pathology and Control. International Handbook of Foodborne Pathogens, Marcel Dekker, Inc. Chapter 32, pp: 539-562, 2003.

Espino AM. Maestría en Biotecnología. Aplicaciones de la Biotecnología. Capitulo 9: Diseño de vacunas. Escuela Superior de Enseñanza Abierta, Universidad de Granada (Texto docente) (

Experience mentoring students

Dr. Espino has mentored 14 undergraduates, 4 MS and 8 PhD Students in the area of Parasite Immunology and Molecular Biology.

Espino AM and Martin I. Fasciola hepatica fatty acid binding protein: A novel anti-inflammatory molecule: Application No. 15/156.284. Attorney Docket No. UPR-15241

Table. Graduate Students Mentored by Dr. Espino in Chronologic order

Past Students

Name Graduate (G) Period of Time Mentored Current Status
Julia Quetel

MS (G)


Technical Assistant at Becton Dickinson
Bonnibel Delgado

MS (G)


Research Scientist at Becton Dickinson
Daricel Torres

MS (G)


Research Scientist at Becton Dickinson
Francheska Rivera

MS (G)


Medical Technologist-III Hospital Auxilio Mutuo
Adelaida Morales

PhD (G)


CAPA Investigator at Parental Manufacturing Area at Janssen Gurabo
Olgary Figueroa

PhD (G)


Assistant Professor at UPR Cayey
Kimberly Caban

PhD (G)


Senior Scientist at Eli Lilly
Jose Gaudier

PhD (G)


Assistant Professor at Catholic University
Ivelisse Martin

PhD (G)


Director of Clinic Laboratory
Marcos J Ramos

PhD (G)


Post-Doctoral Fellow at NIH
Vasti Aguayo

PhD (G)


Post-Doctoral Fellow at ASM Clinical Laboratory
Caleb Ruiz

PhD (G)


Post-Doctoral Fellow at Loma Linda, California

Present Students

Name Graduate (G) Period of Time Mentored Current Status
Jose J. Rosado

PhD (G)

2017 at present

4th Year
Bianca Valdes

PhD (G)

2018 at present

4th Year