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:

Associate Professor
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.  Aguayo V, Valdes B, Espino AM.Assessment of Fasciola hepaticaglutathione S-transferase as an antigen for serodiagnosis of human chronic fascioliasis.Acta Trop. 2018 Oct; 186:41-49. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2018.07. 002. Epub 2018 Jul 7. PMID: 29990477.
  2. Ramos-Benítez MJ, Lopez-Cruz LM, Aguayo V, Ruiz-Jimenez C, Espino AM. Cell-free expression, purification and immunoreactivity assessment of recombinant Fasciola hepatica saposin-like protein-2.Mol Biol Rep. 2018 Jul 21. doi: 10.1007/s11033-018-4251-3. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:30032380
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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 Open Biology 2017 Apr; 7(4). pii: 170031. DOI: 10.1098/rsob.170031. PMID: 28404797
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. 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.

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

Past Students

Name Graduate (G) Period of Time
Current Status
Julia Quetel MS (G) 2006-2009 Technical Assistant at Becton Dickinson
Bonnibel Delgado MS (G) 2006-2011 Research Scientist at Becton Dickinson
Daricel Torres MS (G) 2007-2009 Research Scientist at Becton Dickinson
Francheska Rivera MS (G) 2009-2011 Medical Technologist-III Hospital Auxilio Mutuo
Adelaida Morales PhD (G) 2005-2015 CAPA Investigator at Parental Manufacturing Area at Janssen Gurabo
Olgary Figueroa PhD (G) 2009-2013 Assistant Professor at UPR Cayey
Kimberly Caban


PhD (G) 2010-2014 Senior Scientist at Eli Lilly
Jose Gaudier PhD (G) 2010-2014 Assistant Professor at Catholic University
Ivelisse Martin PhD (G) 2011-2015 Director of Clinic Laboratory

Present Students

Name Graduate (G) Period of Time
Current Status
Caleb Ruiz PhD (G) 2012 at present 6th Year
Marcos Ramos PhD (G) 2014 at present 4th Year
Vasti Aguayo PhD (G) 2013 at present 5th Year
Jose J. Rosado PhD (G) 2017 at present 4th Year
Bianca Valdes PhD (G) 2018 at present 4th Year