Parasites: Battle for Survival

Free Exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland

Thursday 6 December 2019 to Sunday 19 April 2020

National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh

 

A new exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland will explore Scotland’s role in the fight to eliminate tropical diseases by tackling the parasites that cause them. Parasites: Battle for Survival will examine five deadly diseases, which together affect 1 in 18 people around the world and thrive in areas lacking access to clean water, healthcare and adequate sanitation.

Malaria, guinea-worm disease, sleeping sickness, schistosomiasis and leishmaniasis are among the diseases that the World Health Organization is aiming to eliminate, some as soon as 2020. All but Malaria are classified as neglected, meaning that historically they have seen a lack of interest and funding from healthcare groups and governments despite their huge impact.

Researchers at the Universities of Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow are at the forefront of these efforts. They are collaborating with scientists and communities around the globe to understand, prevent and treat these debilitating diseases. If successful in eliminating one of them, it will be the first time a human disease has been eliminated since Smallpox was wiped out in 1979.

Presented in partnership with these three universities, this interactive, family friendly exhibition will explore the Scottish involvement in identifying and treating tropical disease and highlight the research currently taking place in Scotland. With a view to engaging young visitors in STEM subjects, the exhibition’s creators have collaborated with secondary school pupils to trial designs, games and text.

For further information, visit this link. Twitter: #ParasitesExhibition

The 2019 Autumn Symposium in Belfast

 

On 23rd September, the BSP hosted our annual Autumn Symposium.  This year’s theme was “post-genomic progress in helminth parasitology”. We welcomed 83 delegates from 10 countries to our lovely venue in Riddel Hall, on the Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) campus, in leafy South Belfast.

In our first session, we heard invited presentations from Angela Mousley (QUB) on how her lab is using multiple ‘omics approaches to understand neuropeptide biology in nematode parasites, followed by talks from John Gilleard (University of Calgary) and Jane Hodgkinson (University of Liverpool) on the genomic basis of drug resistance in, respectively, Haemonchus and Fasciola.  After a welcome caffeination opportunity, we focused on functional genomics, with Paul Brindley (George Washington University), and Elissa Hallem (UCLA) highlighting how we can better understand  parasite biology using genome editing, and Aaron Maule (QUB) putting the spotlight on RNAi and stem cells in Fasciola.  After a highly-praised lunch from Riddel Hall’s excellent catering department, we broadened our scope to look at small RNAs in nematodes (Collette Britton, University of Glasgow), evolution of symbiotic Wolbachia bacteria (Mark Blaxter, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute; kindly presenting via Skype due to a flight cancellation), and the role of GPCR signalling in reproductive development of schistosomes (Christoph Grevelding, Justus Liebig University).

During the subsequent poster session, we enjoyed drinks and nibbles alongside nineteen high-quality posters, with the calibre of postgraduate and postdoctoral research on show recognised by poster prizes (see list below), supported by Elsevier.

A BugBitten blog of the meeting by Tom Pennance is also available here.

The BSP would like to thank delegates and invited speakers for their contributions, and to pay special thanks to our headline sponsor, Cambridge University Press, and all of our other supporters: Analab, Elsevier, Queen’s University Belfast Core Technology Units, Irish Society for Parasitology, Microscope Services and Sales Ltd, Premier Scientific, VWR, and Queen’s University Belfast School of Biological Sciences Athena SWAN Team.

 

Congratulations to our poster prize winners as follows:

Students

1st Duncan Wells (poster 19; Queen’s University Belfast) (£150 prize)

2nd Jennifer Noonan (poster 18; McGill University, Canada) (£100 prize)

3rd Nicolas Feldman (poster 10; University of Buenos Aires, Argentina) (£50 prize)

Postdocs

1st Paul Airs (poster 12; Queen’s University Belfast) (£150 prize)

2nd Paul McCusker (poster 5; Medical College of Wisconsin, USA) (£100 prize)

3rd Oliver Weth (poster 14; Justus Liebig University, Germany) (£50 prize)

 

 

 

Congratulations to prize winners at the 2019 BSP Spring meeting

The 2019 BSP Spring Meeting was held on 15-17 April in Manchester. The abstract book is now available on our website. Thanks to all the local organisers for a warm welcome and to our sponsors.

Special talks were given by BSP Honorary member Professor Janet Hemingway; CA Wright Memorial Medal winner Professor Russell Stothard; and the recipient of our first BSP President's Medal, Dr Mattie Pawlowic (pictured here with BSP President Maria-Gloria Basanez).

Mattie and Maria-Gloria

The British Society of Parasitology congratulates all winners of the 2019 Spring Meeting poster and short talk prize competition. The winners were:

Best short talks. 1st: Clarize de Korne. 2nd: Emma Houlder. 3rd: Marie Astrid Hoogerwerf. Best posters. 1st: Hannah Smith. 2nd: Dimitri Bulte. 3rd: Bozo Lugonja. Best Ecology short talk: Natalia Fraija-Fernandez. Best Ecology poster: Meg Huggins. Best poster pitch: Luca Cunningham. Best sci comm flash talks. 1st: Iris Mair. 2nd: Jo Pennock.

Prizes were sponsored by Cambridge University Press (1st prize for short talk and poster); Parasites & Vectors (2nd and 3rd prize for short talk and poster and prize for best poster pitch); British Ecological Society Parasites and Pathogens Group (best Ecology short talk and poster); and Qiagen (Best Sci Comm Flash Talk).

 

Congratulations to our 2019 Medal Winners and new Honorary Members

CA Wright Memorial Medal 2019 awarded to:

Professor Russell Stothard

The CA Wright Memorial Medal offers the opportunity for the British Society of Parasitology to recognise a member of the Society who has not only made an outstanding contribution to discipline of parasitology, but also offers the opportunity to confirm their achievements to date as a distinguished leader in their respective field. This sentiment is in keeping with the work and impact of Chris Wright, then Director of the Experimental Taxonomy Unit at the Natural History Museum and the Society's President at the time of his untimely death in 1983, and in whose memory this commemorative medal was instigated.

It is with great pleasure that the Society announces the recipient of the 2019 CA Wright Memorial Medal; Professor J Russell Stothard of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Russell will be awarded his medal during the upcoming Spring Meeting of the British Society of Parasitology (April 15-17th) at the University of Manchester. As part of his presentation, Russell will give a talk entitled “Some Personal Reflections on Connections, Collaborations and Cross-overs: Three Important ‘Cs’ in A Career in Schistosomiasis Research and Control”.

Russ Stothard

BSP President’s Medal 2019 awarded to:

Dr Mattie Pawlowic

This year the British Society of Parasitology has inaugurated a new award - the President’s Medal. This medal is awarded to a member of the Society to recognise an outstanding early career researcher who, as well as providing a marked impact to the field of parasitology, demonstrates ambitions consistent with the potential to achieve a world-leading status within our community.

It is with great pleasure that the Society announces the first recipient of the President’s Medal; Dr Mattie Christine Pawlowic of Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research at the University of Dundee. Mattie will be awarded her medal during the upcoming Spring Meeting of the British Society of Parasitology (April 15-17th) at the University of Manchester. As part of her presentation, Mattie will give a talk entitled “Cryptosporidium, a genetically tractable parasite”.

mattie

The BSP recognises the outstanding contribution of its members with Honorary Memberships:

Professor Simon Croft, Professor Diana Williams and Professor Jozef Vercruysse

The BSP is pleased to announce the award of three new Honorary Members for 2019. These awards recognise the sustained and outstanding contribution of these individuals to the field of Parasitology through research, the promotion and dissemination of parasitology as well as recognising service to our Society. These Honorary Memberships are being made to Professor Simon Croft (pictured left) of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Professor Diana Williams (pictured centre) of the University of Liverpool and Professor Jozef Vercruysse (pictured right) of Ghent University. These awards will be formally announced to the membership at the Annual General Meeting of the Society to be held during the Spring Meeting at The University of Manchester. Simon, Diana and Jozef will all be attending this year’s meeting.

 

Professor Chris Arme wins Distinguished Parasitologist prize

Chris Arme

Congratulations to Professor Chris Arme who has been awarded the Distinguished Parasitologist prize by the World Federation of Parasitologists, following his nomination by the BSP. The award recognises Chris's career as an academic scientist, his work as a government advisor, and, since his retirement from Keele University, as the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Parasites and Vectors. Chris was a founding member of the BSP in 1962 and later became President of the Society.

Cystic Echinococcus: accelerating advocacy and research

Workshop in Lima, Peru on 16-19 October 2018 funded by the Researcher Links scheme

Under the Researcher Links scheme offered within the Newton Fund, the British Council and the Peruvian Council for Science and Technology (CONCYTEC) will be holding a workshop on cystic echinococcus in Lima (Peru) on 16-19 October 2018. The workshop is being coordinated by the University of Surrey (UK) and the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Peru), and will have contributions from other leading researchers. We are now inviting Early Career Researchers (with less than 10 years post PhD or equivalent research experience) from the UK or Peru to apply to attend this workshop. All travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the Research Links programme. 10 places are available. 

Applications are now open until 1 August 2018. Apply now

Congratulations to the BSP Spring Meeting 2018 Poster Prize winners

The British Society of Parasitology congratulates the winners of the Spring Meeting poster prize competition sponsored by Parasites & Vectors and Malaria Journal (BMC) and Elsevier. The following winners were selected from some 100 posters presented at the meeting held at Aberystwyth University.

Janine Coombes – University of Liverpool: “Developing a 3D intestinal epithelium model for studying gastrointestinal infections of livestock species”

Alessandra Crusco – Aberystwyth University: “Design, synthesis and antihelmintic activity of 7-keto-sempervirol analogues”

Zandile Nare – University of Edinburgh: “Towards new drugs for trypanosomatid diseases based on specific high-affinity inhibitors of RNA editing ligase 1” (pictured centre)

Tegwen Mariais – London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine: “Comparative ‘omics’ for identification of coproantigens for diagnosis of Strongyloides stercoralis infection” (pictured left)

Maria Ines Neves – The Royal Veterinary College – “Estimating schistosome worm burdens using parental analysis” (pictured right)

Many thanks to our sponsors and to the poster judges: Kevin Tyler, Domenico Otranto, Frank Katzner, Maria-Gloria Basanez (BMC editors), Paul Horrocks, Paul Denny and Poppy Lamberton.

 

Invitation for Expressions of Interest for BSP Honorary Officer Roles

Three Officer Roles available from April 2019

The BSP Council is now seeking expressions of interest from the membership for three of the Honorary Officer roles – Hon General Secretary, Hon Meetings Secretary and Hon Treasurer. These roles are for three years and will commence in April 2019 with those appointed having the opportunity to shadow the current Officers until this time. Please find here the call as well as descriptions of the Honorary Officer roles available: Invitation for expression of interest in BSP Honorary Officer roles
Expressions of interest are required by June 25th 2018 by email to: p.d.horrocks@keele.ac.uk.