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Marilyn Scott

Associate Professor

Director of the McGill School of Environment

Institute of Parasitology

Macdonald Campus, McGill University
21,111 Lakeshore Road
Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Qc, H9X 3V9

Tel.: 514-398-7996
Fax: 514-398-7857
marilyn [dot] scott [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email)

Research Interests

The long-term objective of my research program is to understand host-parasite population dynamics using experimental and field epidemiology and theoretical studies. Through my research, I explore factors relevant to, and consequences of, parasite control methods applied at the level of the host population or community.

Much of my research over the past 12 years has focussed on the nutrition-parasite-immunity complex. In collaboration with Dr. Kris Koski of the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, students, and other collaborators, we have undertaken experimental studies on the consequences of restriction of zinc, protein, vitamin A and energy deficiency, and components of fiber, in isolation and in combination, using the Heligmosomoides polygyrus (Nematoda) mouse model. Our current studies consider the effects of protein re-feeding as a means to improve the ability of the host to manage parasitic infections, the effects of energy restriction in a semi-natural mouse population setting, and the effects of zinc and/or Vitamin A supplementation on re-infection rates in Panamanian children (in collaboration with Dr. Eduardo Ortega, University of Panama). We have recently prepared three major review articles that provide an overview of our accomplishments in this field, and will be have been invited to present our work at the upcoming FASEB Summer Research Conference "The Impact of Nutritional Status on Immune Function and Health".

We have just begun a program investigating the effect of waterborne zinc on Gyrodactylus turnbulli, an ectoparasite of guppies. We are testing various concentrations of zinc in the water to determine whether parasite reproduction and survival are improved or impaired.

We have just completed a study on the effects of parasitic infection on mate choice in mice, in studies ranging from odour preference of females for uninfected or infected males, mating choices of females when presented with tethered male mice, and mating choices in a free-running arena setting.

In the past, I have studied the population dynamics of H. polygyrus in free-running mouse populations, the transmission dynamics of infection, the role of parasites in regulating host population abundance, the factors that "predispose" certain individuals to heavy infection, and the genetics of host susceptibility or resistance to infection.

In the past, my lab has been involved in a series of studies on the ecological changes associated with evolution of drug resistance in gastrointestinal nematodes, both in the mouse-model system, and also in sheep parasites.

We have also been involved in a number of community-based projects in developing countries including a study to evaluate the relative effectiveness of various control strategies in managing intestinal nematode infections in humans in Dominica and in sheep and goats in Kenya, a health education program in Guatemala, and a study of parasite transmission patterns in the Republic of Congo (previously Zaire) and in Mexico.

Selected publications

Pérez-Jvostov F, Hendry AP, Fussmann GF, Scott ME.
Are host-parasite interactions influenced by adaptation to predators? A test with guppies and Gyrodactylus in experimental stream channels. Oecologia. 2012 Mar 9. [Epub ahead of print]

Halpenny CM, Koski KG, Valdés VE, Scott ME.
Prediction of child health by household density and asset-based indices in impoverished indigenous villages in rural Panamá. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2012 Feb;86(2):280-91.

Scatliff CE, Koski KG, Scott ME.
Diarrhea and novel dietary factors emerge as predictors of serum vitamin B12 in Panamanian children. Food Nutr Bull. 2011 Mar;32(1):54-9.

Loaiza JR, Scott ME, Bermingham E, Sanjur OI, Wilkerson R, Rovira J, Gutiérrez LA, Correa MM, Grijalva MJ, Birnberg L, Bickersmith S, Conn JE.
Late Pleistocene environmental changes lead to unstable demography and population divergence of Anopheles albimanus in the northern Neotropics. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2010 Dec;57(3):1341-6. Epub 2010 Oct 1.

Gheorghiu C, Marcogliese DJ, Scott ME.
Temporal dynamics of epidermal responses of guppies Poecilia reticulata to a sublethal range of waterborne zinc concentrations. J Fish Biol. 2009 Dec;75(10):2642-56.

Odiere MR, Scott ME, Weiler HA, Koski KG.
Protein deficiency and nematode infection during pregnancy and lactation reduce maternal bone mineralization and neonatal linear growth in mice. J Nutr. 2010 Sep;140(9):1638-45. Epub 2010 Jul 21.

Loaiza JR, Scott ME, Bermingham E, Rovira J, Conn JE.
Evidence for pleistocene population divergence and expansion of Anopheles albimanus in Southern Central America. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2010 Jan;82(1):156-64.

Odiere MR, Koski KG, Weiler HA, Scott ME.
Concurrent nematode infection and pregnancy induce physiological responses that impair linear growth in the murine foetus. Parasitology. 2010 May;137(6):991-1002. Epub 2009 Dec 23.

Publications - Marilyn E. Scott