Lines of Research

Four decades after its establishment, the range of scientific research topics of the Clodomiro Picado Institute has grown in complexity and breadth. Today, the lines of research of the CPI are:

  • Epidemiology of the snakebite accident: Compilations and statistical analysis to determine the number, characteristics, and consequences of snakebite envenomings registered in the country. 

  • Studies on herpetology and natural history of snakes: Studies on taxonomy, evolution and ecology of venomous snakes in Costa Rica.

  • Studies on the composition of snake venoms: The complex protein composition of snake venoms in Costa Rica detailed through proteomics methods. 

  • Isolation, characterization, and study of the mechanism of action of snakebite toxins: The most relevant toxins in the pathogenesis of envenoming by snakes have been isolated and, their mechanism of action has been characterized. 

  • Experimental pathology of snakebite envenoming: Research of the pathogenesis of the effects of venoms in experimental animal models, using histology, immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence techniques.

  • Search, characterization, and assessment of inhibitors with therapeutic potential against snake venoms: The objective is to discover alternative substances to antibodies, whether of natural or synthetic origin, capable of inhibiting the toxic effects of snake venoms.

  • Clinical research studies on antivenoms: Clinical essays developed to assess the performance and other characteristics of the different antivenoms produced at the CPI, when used on patients that have suffered from snakebite envenomings. 

  • New lines of research: The study of the mechanisms of action of toxins produced by the anaerobe bacteria Clostridium perfringens, immune response in experimental and natural infections by bacteria of the Brucella genus, and the signaling pathways that cause cellular death of in vitro tumor cells exposed to agents with therapeutic potential.