Lucas Tirloni, Ph.D.


Tick-Pathogen Transmission Unit


Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Building 1, Room 1307
903 South 4th Street
Hamilton, MT 59840


Research Topics

Human vector-borne diseases in the United States are primarily tick-borne. Tick-borne disease have rapidly become a serious and growing threat to public health. As blood feeding arthropods, ticks salivate while they puncture host skin in their search of blood. Tick saliva contains several compounds that have anti-coagulant, vasodilatory, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory functions. While helping the vector to feed, tick saliva also modifies the site where pathogens are injected and, in many cases, facilitates the infection process. In recent years, we have contributed to the analysis of several salivary proteomes and the functional characterization of tick saliva proteins. A deeper understanding of tick feeding biology is needed to discover weak links that can be targeted for effective anti-tick vaccine development. The overall objective of our research is to understand the mechanisms of tick-host-pathogen interactions at the molecular and cellular level. Our approach uses biological and biophysical methodologies to first identify the components of an interaction system (i.e., tick-vertebrate host) and then to examine the mechanistic details of the interaction into tick-host-pathogen interface. A combination of bioinformatic analyses, recombinant protein production, biochemical characterization, and RNA silencing will be utilized to accomplish this goal. The ultimate goal of this work is to develop a new transmission blocking strategy for tick-borne diseases.


Dr. Tirloni was born and raised in Brazil. He received his Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology in 2015 from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. He received his postdoctoral training at Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (2015-2016), Texas A&M University (2016-2018), and NIAID (2018-2020). In 2020, Dr. Tirloni became a tenure-track investigator in the Laboratory of Bacteriology.

Selected Publications

  1. Tirloni L, Lu S, Calvo E, Sabadin G, Di Maggio LS, Suzuki M, Nardone G, da Silva Vaz I Jr, Ribeiro JMC. Integrated analysis of sialotranscriptome and sialoproteome of the brown dog tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus (s.l.): Insights into gene expression during blood feeding. J Proteomics. 2020;229:103899.
  2. Tirloni L, Braz G, Nunes RD, Gandara ACP, Vieira LR, Assumpcao TC, Sabadin GA, da Silva RM, Guizzo MG, Machado JA, Costa EP, Santos D, Gomes HF, Moraes J, Dos Santos Mota MB, Mesquita RD, de Souza Leite M, Alvarenga PH, Lara FA, Seixas A, da Fonseca RN, Fogaça AC, Logullo C, Tanaka AS, Daffre S, Oliveira PL, da Silva Vaz I Jr, Ribeiro JMC. A physiologic overview of the organ-specific transcriptome of the cattle tick Rhipicephalus microplus. Sci Rep. 2020;10(1):18296.
  3. Kim TK, Tirloni L, Bencosme-Cuevas E, Kim TH, Diedrich JK, Yates JR 3rd, Mulenga A. Borrelia burgdorferi infection modifies protein content in saliva of Ixodes scapularis nymphs. BMC Genomics. 2021;22(1):152.

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This page was last updated on Tuesday, October 25, 2022