Other York events

The Wonders of Tropical Parasites

Step free access available
Past event - 2024
14 May Doors 7pm
Event 7:30pm - 9:30 pm
The Fulford Arms, 121 Fulford Rd,
York YO10 4EX
From neglected tropical diseases to genome mysteries and immune evasion, hear the groundbreaking insights on parasitic diseases and the hope for combating these silent killers. We invite you to expand your knowledge and join the fight for a healthier future.

Breaking the Silence – Exploring the World of Neglected Diseases

Leon Walther (PhD student )
Let’s uncover the hidden threats of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)— illnesses thriving in poverty's shadow. They cripple communities, stifle economies, and impact us all. From disfiguring elephantiasis to silent assassins like Chagas disease, NTDs are the silent killers we can't ignore. But there's hope: with a united front of public health personal, scientists, and community leaders, we can fight back. Together, let's shine a light on NTDs and give people a voice which have been neglected for centuries.

From Ancient Plague to Modern Challenge: The Ever-Evolving Battle Against Malaria

Hannah Davies (PhD student)
Malaria is one of the deadliest diseases we have ever known and has been plaguing humanity throughout its entire history. It has so far been impossible to eradicate due to many factors: the parasite’s multi-stage life cycle and myriad surface proteins present a huge challenge for vaccine development; drug and insecticide treatments face the problem of increasing resistance; and climate change is altering the movements and behaviour of mosquitoes. Thankfully, the recent approval of the RTS,S vaccine and new seasonal drugs means we might finally be on the verge of tackling this terrible disease.

How to build a genome - and why would we bother?

Cian Lynch (PhD student )
I'm going to explain what a genome is, how oxford nanopore sequencing works, how you build a genome, and why all of this matters in the context of parasitic disease. Using a South American clade of Leishmania as an example, I will describe the importance of getting highly accurate genetic data for parasite strains and ultimately try to answer the question: 'What is a species?', as well as delving into hybrid parasites and the impact these hybrid species can have on disease dynamics.

Parasitic masters of disguise - How African Trypanosomes and malaria parasites evade our complex immune system.

Lianne Lansink (Postdoc (PDRA))
African trypanosomes and Malaria parasites disguise themselves, and so evade our immune system. They do this by making a coat of one type of protein for which they have between 60 to >2000 options to choose from. They temporarily become unrecognisable to our immune system when they switch the expression of this protein to one of the many different options they have available. Using this process the parasites are able to escape our complex immune system over and over again and establish prolonged infection and allow them to complete their life cycle when they are picked up again by their insect vectors. I will present about our current knowledge on these sophisticated mechanisms of immune evasion and how we attempt to increase our understanding at a molecular level in order to use this against the parasites in the form of therapeutics.

Searching for the Achilles Heel: How to turn the enemy's power into opportunity?

Martin Majer (Postdoc (PDRA))
Schistosomes are parasitic worms afflicting more than 250 million people globally and causing schistosomiasis, the chronic disease that dramatically worsens well-being and often leads to death. This parasite's frightful success lies in its ability to evade the human immune system. Schistosomes live in blood vessels and secrete specific proteins and other compounds that weaken the function of immune cells, allowing the parasite to survive for years. Discovering these key compounds could pave the way for a vaccine or drug to combat schistosomiasis and improve the lives of millions.
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