Spring Quarter:  February 26 – March 17,  2024
Instructor: Kate Rawlinson (MBL)
UChicago Course Number: BIOS 27760

Course description:

This course introduces the diversity of parasitic organisms, both protozoan and metazoan, and explores the life cycles, morphology, genomics, pathology, immunology, epidemiology, and treatment and control of major parasite groups. The focus will be on aquatic species, including those that cause disease in humans and livestock. The course will involve lectures, journal clubs and lab work including designing and carrying out a research project. The lab work will include working on parasitic trematode flatworms; identifying local species (non-infectious to humans) as well as investigating the behavior and molecular and cellular biology of a tropical species, Schistosoma mansoni, that is a medically important. The lab portion will introduce the morphological and molecular techniques and resources used in contemporary parasitology. These techniques form part of the toolkit used by parasitologists to understand the biology of these organisms, an essential step in the search and development of novel therapeutics.

Course structure:

  • Lectures and journal clubs (9:00-11:30am): each morning throughout the course.
  • Labs (1:30-4:00pm): Week 1 – lab introduction, safety, parasite handling and the cellular and molecular biology of a parasite larva. Week 2 - Identification of local parasites using DNA barcoding & morphology. Week 3 – research projects.
  • Research projects: You will carry out the experimental design, lab work, imaging, and analysis of your project. You can either lead your own research project or work as part of a team. 

Course objectives:

The course will provide students with knowledge of wide-ranging topics related to parasitology. By the end of this course students will:

  1. Define associations between organisms and parasitism.
  2. List parasites that are important to human health and interests.
  3. Safely handle parasites.
  4. Use lab techniques to investigate the behavior and molecular biology of parasites.
  5. Be able to present their research in oral and written formats.
  6. Think critically about their results and how they contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge.