Dr Matthew Berriman receives the 2017 CA Wright Medal

The British Society of Parasitology awarded Dr Matthew Berriman  the 2017 C.A. Wright Medal at the society's annual Spring Meeting in Dundee.  Dr Berriman is shown receiving his medal from BSP President Mark Taylor.

The C.A. Wright Medal is awarded on the basis of an individual’s outstanding contribution to the field of parasitology.  Dr Berriman, a senior group leader within the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, has played a leading role in the sequencing of genomes from protozoan and helminthic parasites as well as the application of these data in the study of parasite biology, genetics, evolution and adaptation to parasitism.  This research has proven transformational in the field of parasitology.  The award of the C.A. Wright Medal recognises the impact of Dr Berriman’s research in placing British parasitology at the forefront of international efforts to tackle the health burden attributed to parasitic disease.

Wright medal Berriman

Poster Prizes Awarded at the 2017 BSP Spring Meeting

Seven Poster Prizes were awarded at this year's BSP meeting in Dundee.  The judges were Justin Pachebat and Poppy Lamberton from the BSP Council.

PLOS NTDs best poster prizes: £40 per prize.

Poster 10. David Cutress, towards validation of an immune suppressor protein from liver fluke : Prostoglandin D Synthase as a drug target.

Poster 58. Dr Luca Nelli. Mapping insecticide resistance using spatially explicit statistical models: a simulation approach to investigate pyrethroid resistance in mosquito in Banfora district, Burkina Faso.

Poster 61. Miss Arporn Wangwiwatsin. Co-culture of schistosomes with mammalian cells to reveal host pathogen interactions.

Poster 63. Amy Marriott. Long term in vitro culture of adult Brugia malayi parasites.

Poster 93. Dr Renata Candido. A high field gradient magnetic probe for detecting parasite eggs in faecal matter processed by the Helmintex method.

Parasites & Vectors best student poster prize: £100.
Poster 42. Miss Titilola Kalejaiye. Evaluation of phosphodiesterase as potential drug targets in Trypanosoma cruzi.
Malaria Journal Early career researcher best poster prize: £100.
Poster 12. Dr Federica Giordani. Development of novel DNA minor groove binders for the treatment of animal African trypanosomiasis.

28th Annual Meeting of the German Society for Parasitology (DGP)

The 28th Annual Meeting of the German Society for Parasitology (DGP) will be held in Berlin, Germany from 21–24 March 2018.

Venue

Berlin, Germany

Dates

21st - 24th Mar 2018

More information

The 28th Annual Meeting of the German Society for Parasitology (DGP) will be held in Berlin, Germany from 21–24 March 2018.

Scientific contributions are welcomed on the following topics:

• Biochemistry
• Cell Biology and Signaling
• Diagnosis
• Drug Resistance
• Drugs and Drug Development
• Epidemiology and Emerging Infections
• Immunology
• Molecular Genetics
• Parasite Ecology
• Parasite-Host Interactions
• Parasitic Helminths
• Phylogeny and Evolution
• Prevention
• Protozoan Parasites
• Vectors, Entomology and Acarology
• Veterinary Parasitology
• and Free Topics

Deadline for abstract submission is 01 December 2017.
Discounted early bird registration fee until 21 January 2018.

Website www.parasitology-meeting.de

 

Dr Matthew Berriman awarded the 2017 CA Wright Medal

It is with pleasure that the British Society of Parasitology announces that Dr Matthew Berriman will be the recipient of the 2017 C.A. Wright Medal.

The C.A. Wright Medal is awarded on the basis of an individual’s outstanding contribution to the field of parasitology.  Dr Berriman, a senior group leader within the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, has played a leading role in the sequencing of genomes from protozoan and helminthic parasites as well as the application of these data in the study of parasite biology, genetics, evolution and adaptation to parasitism.  This research has proven transformational in the field of parasitology.  The award of the C.A. Wright Medal recognises the impact of Dr Berriman’s research in placing British parasitology at the forefront of international efforts to tackle the health burden attributed to parasitic disease.

The award of the C.A. Wright Medal will take place during the Society’s 2017 Spring Symposium to be held in Dundee, with Dr Berriman providing a plenary talk on his research at the opening of the symposium on April 2nd.

Parasitism on the BBC

The 'In Our Time' Programme is now available on iPlayer.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discussed the relationship between parasites and hosts, where one species lives on or in another to the benefit of the parasite but at a cost to the host, potentially leading to disease or death of the host. Typical examples are mistletoe and trees, hookworms and vertebrates, cuckoos and other birds. In many cases the parasite species do so well in or on a particular host that they reproduce much faster and can adapt to changes more efficiently, and it is thought that almost half of all animal species have a parasitic stage in their lifetime. What techniques do hosts have to counter the parasites, and what impact do parasites have on the evolution of their hosts?

Guests were Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College, London; Wendy Gibson BSP Member and Professor of Protozoology at the University of Bristol; and Kayla King, Associate Professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford.

Report from BSP Travel Award Recipient Sara Silva Pereira

A field report from Kenya by Liverpool PhD student Sara Silva Pereira, who was funded by a BSP International Training and Fieldwork Award.

Finding Trypanosoma congolense in Busia, Western Kenya

I was starting the second year of my PhD when my supervisor suggested a trip to Kenya to collect blood samples from cattle naturally infected with Trypanosoma congolense. I finally made it there in the beginning of my final year for a month-long stay.

Animal African Trypanosomiasis is an endemic disease in 37 sub-Saharan countries that has a significant negative effect on both animal health and livestock productivity. It is caused by trypanosome blood parasites (Trypanosoma spp.), transmitted by the bite of tsetse flies (Glossina spp.), and can result in substantial anaemia, weight loss and ultimately death of the infected animal. Efforts to develop effective prophylaxis have been undermined by the mechanism of antigenic variation, employed by the parasite for immune evasion. Antigenic variation is characterised by the sequential substitution of cell surface antigens, compromising the effectivity of an antibody-based response and thus leading to chronic infection and transmission likelihood.

In this project, I was lucky enough to work within the DVS-ILRI laboratory in Busia, which is part of a collaboration between the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the University of Liverpool through Professor Eric Fèvre. There, the veterinary surgeon Dr Maseno Cléophas was ready to coordinate and assist the project.

sara-making-blood-smears-from-an-infected-cow

Sara making blood smears from an infected cow

the-dvsilri-lab-in-busia

The DVS/ILRI lab in Busia

We screened 900 cows in all sub-counties for trypanosomiasis by microscopic analysis of thin blood smears and high centrifugation technique. We collected blood from each positive animal every week, for 4 weeks, and purified the parasites from the blood using a DEAE cellulose column. From the recovered parasites, we extracted nucleic acids and protein, which will be used to identify and quantify transiently-expressed antigen genes and to identify the active cell surface antigen, in an attempt to better understand the relationship between genetics and antigenic switching in natural infections. At the end of the project, the animals involved were treated for trypanosomiasis and all animals screened were dewormed and given multivitamin supplements.

The most difficult part of the project was logistics. Simple things like getting a car to work in the morning, getting the farmers to pick up the phone so we could find them and the animals, having electricity to run the centrifuge, and of course, the dirt roads often flooded by overnight rains. On the bright side, I don’t think I’ll get car sick in Europe anymore! As the locals were constantly reminding me, “This is the real Kenya” and, with all its peculiarities, it is a magnificent country indeed.

views-of-kericho-during-the-horse-ride

It wasn’t all work. On the second weekend, I did manage to escape to a beautiful cottage house in Kericho, where I met people from ILRI working in Nairobi. I got to ride a horse, see a waterfall and walk through sugar cane plantations praying silently not to find snakes. The remaining weekends were spent catching up on my book waiting list and, of course, sunbathing in the nearby hotel swimming pool with the local children.

sunset-kericho

Through the International Training and Fieldwork Award, the BSP has allowed me to personally witness the difficulties and rewards of field work in remote areas, including all the logistics; to have a better understanding on how farming works in Kenya; and to further develop people and laboratory skills that would not be possible in the comfort of our highly-equipped institute in Liverpool. More importantly, the BSP and the BBSRC, who funded the rest of the project, have allowed the collection of precious materials that will be used to understand antigen-switching patterns in natural infections as well as to show an application for a variant antigen profiling methodology we have developed in the first years of my PhD. For all of this, I am deeply grateful.

-Sara Silva Pereira, Post-graduate student, Department of Infection Biology, Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool

Prof Keith Vickerman: Memorial Service in Glasgow

Prof Keith Vickerman died on 28th June 2016. The funeral was mainly for family and a few close colleagues, and it was agreed that a later memorial event would be appropriate.  It has now been arranged that this event will be in the Memorial Chapel, University of Glasgow on 21st March, 2017, from 2pm with refreshments to follow the proceedings.

Keith Vickerman was a leading world authority on sleeping sickness and was Regius Professor of Zoology at the University of Glasgow.  His obituary can be found here.

We are asking people who knew Keith to let us know if they plan to attend the memorial, and to let others know about it. Please email Lorna.Kennedy@glasgow.ac.uk if you plan to attend. If anyone cannot attend, but would like to send a message about Keith, please also send this to Lorna.

Mitigating Emerging Infection: Challenges for Public Security and Justice Early Career Workshop

The National Autonomous University Mexico (UNAM) and the University of Edinburgh (UoE) are pleased to announce that they are jointly hosting a workshop in Nov 2017, ‘Mitigating Emerging Infection: Challenges for Public Security and Justice’, which has been made possible by grants from the Newton Fund and British Council Researcher Links Workshop Grants.

Venue

Mexico City

Dates

21 - 25th Nov 2017

More information

This event - supported by the Newton Fund and British Council - will be held in Mexico City between the 21st and 25th of November 2017 and is a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and National Autonomous University of Mexico. There are 15 places available for UK-based early career academics/clinicians; places are inclusive of a travel grant. Details of the event and how to apply are attached and can also be found at the link below:

http://www.ed.ac.uk/pathway-medicine/news-events/current-news/applications-for-emerging-infectious-mexico

The deadline for applications is 17.00 on the 30th of September. Applications are a CV and statement of motivation to Professor Sue Welburn, Division of Infection & Pathway Medicine, University of Edinburgh.

Blog report from September’s Autumn Symposium

"Parasitologists, microbiologists and chemists came together for fruitful discussions at the British Society for Parasitology 2016 Autumn Symposium..." writes Dr Paul Denny, symposium organiser, in this week's Bugbitten blog.

This year's symposium was held at Durham University and entitled "Microbial Protein Targets: towards understanding and intervention". Staged in collaboration with the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), the core aim was to bring together the biological and physical sciences towards addressing target validation and inhibitor discovery in both protozoal and bacterial pathogens. In addition, for the first time at a BSP meeting, a schools outreach session was held to dovetail with the Symposium. Approximately 100 GCSE and A level students were enthralled by Richard Bellamy (South Tees Hospitals) talking about the threat of antimicrobial resistance and Mike Barrett (University of Glasgow) provided powerful advocacy for the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

The blog is found in full here.