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.

 

Eukaryome 2019

Eukaryome impact on Intestine homeostasis and mucosal immunology

16-18 October 2019 at the Pasteur Institute, Paris, France

Multiple demographic or economic parameters contribute to the origin of emerging infections, for example: poverty, urbanization, climate change, conflicts and population migrations. All these factors are a challenge to assess the impact (present and future) of parasitic diseases on public health. The intestine is a major target of these infections; it is a nutrient-rich environment harbouring a complex and dynamic population of 100 trillion microbes: the microbiome. Most researches on the microbiome focus on bacteria, which share the gut ecosystem with a population of uni- and multi cellular eukaryotic organisms that may prey on them.  Our interest focuses on the families of eukaryotic microbes inhabiting the intestine, called “intestinal eukaryome”, that include fungi, protists and helminths. Knowledge on the reciprocal influence between the microbiome and the eukaryome, and on their combined impact on homeostasis and intestinal diseases is scanty and can be considered as an important emerging field. Furthermore, the factors that differentiate pathogenic eukaryotes from commensals are still unknown. In this congress our wish is to attract people interested in the eukaryome, especially during infection.

The conferences will address the following topics:

  1. Phylogenetic, prevalence, and diversity of intestinal eukaryotic microbes; and their (still enigmatic) historical evolution and potential contributions to mucosal immune homeostasis.
  2. Integrative biology to study the molecular cell biology of parasite-host interactions and the multiple parameters underlining the infectious process.
  3. The exploitation of tissue engineering and microfluidics to establish three-dimensional (3D) systems that help to understand homeostasis and pathological processes in the human intestine.

For further details on the meeting and how to register, see this link

 

11th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health (ECTMIH)

16-20 September 2019 in Liverpool, UK

The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (RSTMH) is delighted and proud to be hosting ECTMIH 2019 in Liverpool, UK on behalf of the Federation of European Societies for Tropical Medicine and International Health (FESTMIH).

2019 has specific significance for the tropical medicine community, as it will mark the 25th anniversary of FESTMIH, of which RSTMH is a proud member. This will form a great opportunity to reflect on how much progress has been made in the last quarter of a century in terms of investigation, innovation and implementation, and is a chance to consider what we can expect from the next 25 years for tropical medicine and global health.

Advances in diagnostics, treatment, vector control, progress towards eliminating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), the huge increase of non-communicable disease, particularly in built environments, as well as contexts of climate change, animal health, man-made and natural disasters and growing economic inequality all bring new challenges to our sector. Throughout the meeting, we will include research from the laboratory and from the field, including implementation research, awareness and policymaking so that we can ensure a range of first-hand experience feeds into the impact of the Congress. We also want to highlight work from young researchers and this is part of one of our tracks.

Further details on the meeting programme and how to register can be found on this link

Please note that the deadline for submitting abstracts is 10th March 2019

Watch talks from BSP Symposia online!

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.

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."

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   

BSP Autumn Symposium 2019

Date for the diary: The 2019 Autumn Symposium will be held at Queens University Belfast, on ‘Post-genomic progress in helminth parasitology’, featuring the Irish Society for Parasitology (ISP).

Venue

Queens University Belfast

Dates

23rd Sept 2019

Helminth parasites are pervasive pathogens that infect humans, animals and plants worldwide. They impact our agricultural productivity and are a significant cause of morbidity for humans in large parts of the developing world, where they are responsible for eight of the 17 neglected tropical diseases recognized by the WHO. Over the last 10-12 years, helminth parasitology research has been transformed by the appearance of genome, transcriptome, proteome and other “omics” datasets. These in turn have spurred the creation of a suite of functional genomic tools, allowing exploration of the vast amounts of data now available. These tools include RNA interference platforms in several species, while the first applications of CRISPR-based genome editing methods have recently been reported. Meanwhile, large-scale genome sequencing and re-sequencing efforts have proceeded apace, shedding new light on our understanding of evolution on a phylum-wide scale, and on development of anthelmintic resistance mechanisms. This one-day BSP Autumn Symposium aims to highlight some of these exciting research areas, where state-of-the-art technologies are being applied to helminth genome research.

Confirmed speakers are:

• Mark Blaxter (University of Edinburgh, UK)
• Paul Brindley (George Washington University, USA)
• Collette Britton (University of Glasgow, UK)
 Christoph Grevelding (Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany)
 Elissa Hallem (UCLA, USA)
• Jane Hodgkinson (University of Liverpool, UK)
 Angela Mousley (Queen’s University Belfast, UK)
 John Gilleard (University of Calgary, Canada) - Sponsored by the ISP
 
More speakers to be announced soon - watch this space!!

Irish Society for Parasitology (ISP) Annual Meeting

Tuesday 24th September, Riddel Hall

On the day after our Symposium, the ISP will hold their annual meeting in Riddel Hall.  This will involve oral presentations from postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers.  Registration costs will be low - Euro 25 (academic) or Euro 15 (student) will cover ISP membership for a year, registration and tea/coffee/lunch.  Come to Belfast and stay for both meetings!

More information

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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.