On 4th April 2018, Prof Robert Poulin from New Zealand will be in Cardiff to talk about: “Evolution of the body snatchers: the secret lives of parasites”. The talk will be at Cardiff University, Main Building, Wallace Lecture Theatre 6-7pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend!
Did you know that the BSP has a YouTube channel hosting content from our meetings and symposia?
Our YouTube channel hosts videos made at BSP meetings, including this one describing the benefits of BSP membership, filmed at our Cambridge Spring Meeting, and this one of a debate session held at the Salford symposium of 2014, entitled 'A Scientist's Perspective on Ebola and the Spread of Infectious Disease'.
For the first time in 2017 the entire Autumn Symposium (held at the Linnean Society in London, September 2017) was videoed. The talks are now posted as a playlist on the YouTube channel. Autumn Symposia are traditionally relatively small, intimate events focussing on particular subjects areas, but some BSP members have expressed an interest in being able to attend 'remotely' if they cannot make a symposium in person. We are therefore trialling a fully-filmed symposium, and would welcome feedback from our members.
The next SBPz Conference will be held in Caxambu, Brazil, 5-7th November 2018.
5-7th Nov 2018
The next annual conference of the Brazilian Society of Protozoology - with which the BSP has a reciprocal membership-rates agreement - has been scheduled. Follow the website for more details.
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.
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."
Workshop to be held in Autumn 2018, Les Embiez Island, France.
Les Embiez Island, France.
30 Sept- 03 Oct 2018
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.
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 2018: The 14th International Congress of Parasitology.
19th - 24th Aug 2018
Title 14th International Congress of Parasitology
Period 19 (Sun) - 24 (Fri) August, 2018
Venue EXCO, Daegu, Korea
Hosted by: ICOPA 2018 Korean Organizing Committee
- The Korean Society for Parasitology and Tropical Medicine (KSPTM)
- World Federation of Parasitologists (WFP)
Flyer: download here
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.
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.