Alexandre J. da Silva. MSc, PhD
SBRS Research Microbiologist, Lead Parasitologist-FDA/CFSAN
Office of Applied Research and Safety Assessment
Division of Virulence Assessment
Mobile: 301 3959217
Office: 240 4023608
Dr. Alex da Silva serves as the Senior Biomedical Research Service - Research Microbiologist –Lead Parasitologist at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), Office of Applied Research and Safety Assessment (OARSA). Dr. da Silva initiated his career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a Junior Parasitologists in 1992. At CDC Dr. da Silva built a parasitology diagnostic program based on molecular methods and telediagnosis. Through this program, also known as DPDx, a robust network for diagnostic response in parasitic diseases was built at health departments in the US states and territories. At CDC Dr. da Silva also initiated the genomics program on Cyclospora cayetanensis with funds from the Advanced Molecular Detection initiative. This program was funded at $500,000/year for 5 years.
Dr. da Silva created several training modules and conducted training in the US, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Brazil, Angola and Mozambique. These training activities focused on diagnostic detection of parasites in clinical, zoonotic and environmental samples.
During his career at the federal public health agencies, Dr. da Silva developed several molecular methods for diagnosis of parasitic diseases caused by Microsporidia, Plasmodium (etiologic agent of malaria), Leishmania, the life-threating free-living ameba Naegleria fowleri, Trypanosoma cruzi, Cryptosporidium, Angiostrongylus cantonensis and Cyclospora cayetanensis. These methods were implemented in many laboratories worldwide and improved significantly the reference diagnosis of these selected parasitic diseases. Due to his extensive expertise in laboratory diagnosis, Dr. da Silva provided essential laboratory diagnostic response to investigations of parasitic diseases outbreaks such as toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis, Sarcocystis infection, free-living ameba infections, eosinophilic meningitis, and cyclosporiasis.
In September of 2014, Dr. da Silva joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to build and lead a program focused on foodborne parasitology at OARSA/CFSAN. The most recent achievements of this parasitology program were the development and validation of two independent methods for the detection of C. cayetanensis in produce and in agricultural water, and the implementation of these methods in the laboratories of the FDA’s Office or Regulatory Affairs. This is closing significant gaps that were hampering the FDA’s mission in produce safety related to foodborne parasitology. Dr. da Silva has authored/co-authored more than 120 publications and several book chapters in advanced detection of parasites and outbreak investigations of parasitic diseases. Dr. da Silva is an associated editor of the Memorias of Oswaldo Cruz and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Food Protection, Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Applied and Environmental Microbiology.