British Society of Immunology Publishes Careers Report

The British Society of Immunology (BSI) has recently conducted a landscape review of immunology careers.  This was conducted to better understand the career progression of immunologists and the factors that may affect this. The report based on this work was published last week, and there are several findings that might be of interest to BSP members. The full report can be accessed here.

In the area of equality and diversity, BSI found that immunology employs a high overall percentage of women, but they are disproportionately numerous at junior levels and are less likely to hold senior positions than women in other similar disciplines.

Additionally, there were several discrepancies between the concerns and experiences of women in immunology and those expressed by men. Most concerningly, they found that 13% of respondent stated that sexism, discrimination or bullying were significant barriers that they had faced during their careers, with women reporting this as a factor twice as frequently as men (16% vs. 7%).  Those interested in the report's findings can to get in touch with the BSI to give their feedback and ideas for what can be done to resolve some of the issues highlighted.

Meeting reports on the BSP Autumn Symposium 2017!

The 2017 BSP Autumn Symposium was held on Thursday 28th September at the Linnean Society, Burlington House, London.  BSP student representative Tom Pennance blogs about the event here.  Another blog was published on the Infectious Disease Hub here.  Catch up with all that you missed by reading the blogs!  As Tom writes: "all living species are involved in parasitism, so our continued inquisitive nature into everything parasite-related is warranted, and something that Carl Linnaeus would certainly be proud of."

EMBO workshop: Molecular advances and parasite strategies in host infection

Workshop to be held in Autumn 2018, Les Embiez Island, France.

Venue

Les Embiez Island, France.

Dates

30 Sept- 03 Oct 2018

More information

The study of parasitic organisms at the molecular level has yielded fascinating new insights of great medical, social, and economical importance, and has pointed the way for the treatment and prevention of the diseases they cause. Pathogenic organisms are varied in their morphologies and astoundingly complex on their life cycles. They have developed many mechanisms to survive intra or extracellularly, or are vectors for other pathogens. These mechanisms are wide ranging and include many cryptic factors such as; modification of host immunity, diverse and virulence specific differentiation, expression of pathogenic molecules, control of gene expression, antigenic variation, and unique metabolic pathways.

One main objective of the EMBO Workshop “Molecular advances and parasite strategies in host infection” is to understand in detail how these mechanisms are controlled, developed and organised. By bringing together an internationally recognised group of world leading, cutting edge scientists who, have parasitology as a common resource, we aim to clarify common and distinct pathways employed during infections by different classes of pathogenic agents. The workshop is envisioned as a forum to provide a unique environment for crosstalk between scientists from wide ranging subject areas such as epigenetics to vector control, that will fertilise new ideas and subsequently new approaches in dealing with pathogenic organisms.

http://meetings.embo.org/event/18-parasite-infection

Welcome to the BSP Autumn Symposium 2017!

The 2017 BSP Autumn Symposium will be held on Thursday 28th September at the Linnean Society, Burlington House, London.  Here, the Symposium organisers, Russell Stothard & Bonnie Webster, welcome all delegates and express their aspirations for the meeting:

We warmly welcome all Symposium delegates with the simple message that ‘all living species are involved in parasitism, either as parasites or as hosts’. This is a universal truth which sets the foundation for discussions at the 2017 British Society for Parasitology Autumn Symposium, entitled “The multidisciplinarity of parasitology: host-parasite evolution and control in an ever changing world”. Without doubt, parasitism is a successful evolutionary strategy but is also part of a broader picture of symbiosis and is a convenient classification of the dynamics of how organisms, big or small, interact. As a metaphor it is tremendously powerful, and regularly used in today’s language to describe significant socio-political events and processes, as societies and nations sometimes negatively exploit others. The agenda of parasitology is exciting, challenging and globally relevant.

Nonetheless, today’s Symposium on parasitism also underpins mutualism, those interactions seen to benefit all players. Our meeting is supported by The Linnean Society of London, The Royal Society for Tropical Medicine, London Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases and International Federation for Tropical Medicine (ITFM). Notably, each has provided much more than goodwill to make this meeting a success and we also thank our guest speakers and all attendees. With the award of IFTM Medal, our meeting celebrates the career of Dr David Rollinson, a former President of the BSP, who has been active in parasitological research for over 40 years and recently received the Linnean Society Gold Medal in recognition for his services to science. Thus our Symposium also seeks to encourage others to devote their careers and efforts to parasitological research.

For convenience, we have split our Symposium into three themes but these divisions blur, as well they should, for we encourage cross-talk as much as possible between disciplines. The ‘ever changing world’ hopes to place parasitological research within the new terminology of the Anthropocene and how mankind is altering global environments which may or may not favour parasitic diseases of medical, veterinary or wildlife importance. The ‘multidisciplinarity of parasitology’ encourages synergies between molecular, ecological and social science components that link parasites and hosts into a more holistic appraisal of parasitism.  The meeting closes upon ‘host-parasite evolution and control’ to recognise that parasites are not simple self-replicating automata and are very able to respond rapidly to interventions waged against them. It is very fitting to discuss this aspect of parasitism here in the Linnean Society where Darwin and Wallace once read their papers, nearly 160 years ago, on evolution by natural selection.

To close, we hope you are inspired by this meeting, form new friendships, enjoy the conviviality of the BSP - especially at tonight’s dinner - and look forward to the production of a special issue of Parasitology resultant from the Symposium’s discussions.

Russell Stothard & Bonnie Webster   

ICOPA: 14th International Congress of Parasitology, 2018

ICOPA 2018: The 14th International Congress of Parasitology.

Venue

Daegu, Korea

Dates

19th - 24th Aug 2018

More information

Title       14th International Congress of Parasitology

Period   19 (Sun) - 24 (Fri) August, 2018

Venue  EXCO, Daegu, Korea

Hosted by:           ICOPA 2018 Korean Organizing Committee

Co-Organizers:

  • The Korean Society for Parasitology and Tropical Medicine (KSPTM)
  • World Federation of Parasitologists (WFP)

Website:               http://icopa2018.org

Flyer:     download here

11th European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology (ECMTB 2018)

The 11th European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology (ECMTB 2018) will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, from 23 to 27 July, 2018.

Venue

Lisbon, Portugal

Dates

23-27th Jul 2018

More information

The 11th European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology (ECMTB 2018) will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, from 23 to 27 July, 2018. The venue is the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon and its research centre CMAF-CIO will host the event. This will be a main event of the YEAR OF MATHEMATICAL BIOLOGY (YMB; http://euro-math-soc.eu/year-mathematical-biology-2018), set up by European Society for Mathematical and Theoretical Biology (ESMTB) and the European Mathematical Society (EMS). For that reason, ECMTB 2018 will, for the first time, be a joint ESMTB-EMS conference and will be co-organized by SPM (Portuguese Mathematical Society).

Researchers and students interested in Mathematical and Theoretical Biology and its applications are invited to join this exciting conference! Registrations are now open on the Conference webpage http://www.ecmtb2018.org. Applications to Mini-symposia, Contributed Talks and Posters are also open and the corresponding abstract templates are available on the webpage.

Sinden symposium (10th May 2018, London)

A special one-day symposium celebrating the science and leadership of Professor Bob Sinden, Emeritus Professor of Parasite Cell Biology, Imperial College London.

 

Venue

Royal Institution

Dates

10th May 2018

More information

Bob Sinden’s career has spanned the pre-genomic to eradication eras of Plasmodium research, including seminal contributions that have defined our understanding of the architecture of the parasite cell, the biology behind sexual stage parasites passage through the mosquito and the foundations of current efforts in drug and vaccinology aimed at preventing malaria transmission. His legacy is still very much alive and active and, in his presence, we would like to celebrate these achievements as well as provoke discussion in the malaria community about how current science needs to evolve if we are to realise eradication in our lifetimes.

This one-day symposium on Thursday 10th May 2018 will feature talks from leading scientists working in areas related to Bob’s work and will be held at the Royal Institution (http://www.rigb.org/) – a scientific icon in London where Faraday first demonstrated the power of electricity. Precise details of the programme will be announced in early spring.

To register for the day, please visit our online registration URL (one ticket per registrant):

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sinden-symposium-tickets-42462378116 

CMP 25th Anniversary Symposium (University of Copenhagen)

Maersk01

27-29th June 2018 at University of Copenhagen

Variant antigens expressed on the surface of erythrocytes infected by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is a long-standing research interest at CMP. The most studied of these antigen families is PfEMP1, which is a major virulence factor and an important target of acquired immunity to P. falciparum malaria

This symposium is focused on PfEMP1 and the var genes that encode them. We have already invited a number of scientists from all over the world to come and tell us about their newest research on various aspects of PfEMP1 biology, immunology, pathogenesis etc. etc.

We also want you to come, and you are of course also free to circulate this invitation further in your network.

Have a look at the exciting program, then register to join us. Registration is free, but you must cover your own traveling and accommodation.

Registration is capped at the 96 participants the meeting venue can accommodate, so don't hesitate too long before making up your mind!

On behalf of the symposium organizers: Anja TR Jensen, Thomas Lavstsen, and Lars Hviid

Meeting Report published from the BSP’s 2017 Spring Meeting in Dundee

The BSP's student representatives, Tom Pennance and Alison Mbekeani, have published a meeting report on the Bugbitten Blog: 'Springtime in Scotland with the British Society for Parasitology'.  If you weren't able to attend the meeting (or indeed if you just want re-live the highlights!), check out their Meeting Report here.

Photo shows Dr Matthew Berriman recieving the 2017 CA Wright Medal - traditionally presented at the annual spring meeting - for his extensive contributions in the field of parasite genomics.

Wright medal Berriman

UK is a World Leader in Parasitology Research

Did you know that the UK leads Europe – and Europe leads the world – in parasitology research?  No European country publishes more parasitology research than the UK, and UK papers were cited more than those from any other country in the past 5 years.  These data arise from an analysis of parasitology outputs that was conducted as part of the BSP’s strategic planning for 2017, following a BSP Council AwayDay in Jan 2017.

Data were obtained from Elsevier SciVal for 2011-2016: Scopus was filtered according to the keyword “Parasitology” for research articles and reviews, and the returns were filtered by region and country.

Over this 5-year period, Europe produced 1763 parasitology outputs, compared to 1031 from S. America  and 622 from the USA.  Within Europe, the UK produced 357 of those outputs, making it the top-producing country for parasitology in Europe.

Perhaps more importantly, the UK produced some of the most highly cited outputs as well.  Citations per UK publication stood at 9.3, placing the UK second only to Switzerland (with an average of 12.4 citations on 175 publications). Likewise, if we look at only the ‘top papers’ – those in the top 10% of the citation table – the UK produced 23.5% of these top papers (again, second only to the Swiss!)

The BSP takes pride in being the leading academic society for a discipline in which the UK is clearly a global leader.  However, modern scientific research habitually transcends national borders, nowhere more so than in parasitology.   Our annual meetings and other activities, such as international training grants for students, aim to maintain our leading position by promoting the study of parasitology within the UK, but also by promoting worldwide collaboration with other global leaders.