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Maria Belen Cassera

Maria Belen Cassera

Contact Info:

Dr. Maria Belen Cassera
Assistant Professor
(540) 231-4149


Department Website



The primary goal of Dr. Cassera’s research is to understand the basis of host-pathogen interactions using metabolomics approaches seeking to identify and characterize new metabolic pathways and enzymatic function for gene identification and drug discovery.   


The growing field called “metabolomics” detects, catalogs and quantifies the low molecular weight molecules (metabolites), produced by active, living cells under different conditions and times in their life cycles. “Metabolomics” is the study of how the metabolic profile of a complex biological system changes in response to stresses like disease. Advances in the knowledge of the metabolic and nutritional needs of different pathogenic organisms offer new potential routes for chemotherapy.

The primary goal of our research is understand the basis of host-pathogen interactions by studying the biological action of different inhibitors and other molecules such as metabolic modulators at the metabolic level. Our laboratory uses the liquid chromatography in tandem with mass spectrometry-based methods for metabolite analysis in human pathogens such as Plasmodium falciparum (malaria parasite). We aim to discover new mechanistic relationships between metabolite profile changes and the pathology of several human infectious diseases applying functional metabolomics approaches incorporating biochemistry and molecular biology.