Institute of Parasitology

Welcome to the Institute of Parasitology giardi parasite logo

The Institute of Parasitology is one of the oldest recognized centres of interdisciplinary research in Canada. We focus on parasitic organisms, the relationship with their host and the means to limit the impact of parasitic disease on health and wellbeing.

The Institute maintains a close working relationship with the McGill Centre for Tropical Diseases, the Faculties of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Medicine and Health Sciences, and Science of McGill University.

We host an active Graduate Research program with students from Canada and around the world at the MSc and PhD levels. An MSc degree typically can be completed in 2 years and a PhD in 5 years. We also offer a 16-month, non-thesis M.Sc. (Applied) in Biotechnology. This program equips students with practical industry skills, including bioinformatics and management training. It emphasizes practical application in the biotech industry, focusing on industrial research, data mining, communication, and ethical considerations, making it a comprehensive choice for those aiming to advance in the rapidly evolving biotechnology sector. Students wishing to apply for a graduate student position should review the information on our programs and the application procedures here.

Visit the different sections of the website to find information on our Research Labs, Graduate Application procedures, our weekly Seminar Series, our Research Facilities and Equipment and more...

Latest News

Radio-Canada: Interview with Ukrainian scientists, Dr. Oksana Kutova, Postdoc Researcher (FRN)

Postdoctoral researcher, Dr. Oksana Kutova, from Prof. Igor Cestari's lab, was interviewed by André Bernard from Radio-Canada. Dr. Kutova discusses the impact of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine on the scientific community. Despite challenges like financial constraints and forced emigration, Ukrainian scientists remain resilient in their pursuit of research excellence. Watch the interview and learn more about their stories on Radio-Canada's website.

The Institute of Parasitology welcomes two outstanding Assistant Professors!

The Institute of Parasitology at McGill University is thrilled to announce the addition of two esteemed scholars to its academic faculty. Dr. Melisa Gualdron Lopez and Dr. Lucienne Tritten have recently joined as Assistant Professors, bringing a wealth of expertise and dedication to the field of parasitology.

Dr. Melisa Gualdron Lopez, a Venezuelan scientist, joins the institute with a background as a Research Associate in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. Her expertise lies in the study of parasitic protists, particularly Trypanosomes and Plasmodium parasites. Precisely, her research has been devoted to the study of host-parasite intercellular communication mediated by extracellular vesicles (EVs).
Driven by a goal to establish an independent research group in the EV field of parasitic diseases, Dr. Gualdron Lopez is specifically interested in understanding the functions and regulated secretion of EVs derived from parasites, fetal and maternal cells in the context of placental malaria and Congenital Chagas disease. Her ultimate aim is to develop EV-based therapeutics and diagnostics that can help to contribute to better disease control strategies in this vulnerable population.

Returning to the Institute of Parasitology, Dr. Lucienne Tritten brings with her a wealth of experience. Having spent nearly three years at the institute (2012-2015) conducting postdoctoral research under Prof. Timothy Geary's supervision, Dr. Tritten's dedication to tropical diseases research is profound.
With a background that includes being a Project Leader at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel, and the University of Zurich, Switzerland, Dr. Tritten earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Basel in 2012. Her research focuses on the molecular cross-talk between parasitic nematodes and their hosts, emphasizing the roles played by helminth microRNAs and extracellular vesicles in host immunomodulation.
Through international collaborations spanning basic biology to applied research, Dr. Tritten's insights on disrupting the communication between parasite and host contribute significantly to the search for novel control strategies. Her work aligns with the institute's commitment to advancing knowledge for the betterment of human and animal health.
The Institute of Parasitology at McGill University eagerly anticipates the valuable contributions that Dr. Melisa Gualdron Lopez and Dr. Lucienne Tritten will make to the ongoing research and academic excellence.

Congrats Prof. Jianguo (Jeff) Xia - one of the world’s most Cited Researchers

McGill University today announced that 16 of its researchers, including Prof. Jianguo (Jeff) Xia of the Department of Animal Science/Institute of Parasitology, have been included on the Highly Cited Researchers™ (HCRs) list, as published by Clarivate. To be included in the prestigious list, researchers must rank in the top 1% worldwide for their fields and publications in the Web of Science index. In being named to this list, these McGillians join a cohort of 6,849 individuals around the world who have all been recognized for their academic contributions. Read more here.

Prof. Qian (Vivian) Liu awarded funding in Year 2 of the MI4 Pfizer Early Career Investigator Award program

Qian Liu, PhD, received the award for her project, Single-molecule interactions between Nipah virus and the interferon-induced transmembrane proteins. Read more here.

Please join the Macdonald Campus community in congratulating Qian Liu, Associate Professor in the Institute of Parasitology for her winning submission.
Dr. Liu's project will study Nipah virus to increase scientific understanding of how viruses infect cells and how the cell's innate immune defenses fight novel viral infections, knowledge which is critical to developing intervention strategies against emerging viral diseases. Nipah virus can be transmitted from animals to humans or from human to human and has a mortality rate of 40-70%. It is listed in the WHO blueprint priority diseases for research and development because of its epidemic potential and lack of countermeasures. This research will provide new insights into the subtle mechanisms of Nipah virus infection and interferon-induced transmembrane proteins, which restrict the virus' entry into our cells. Read more here.

Prof. Petra Rohrbach has accepted the position of Director of Space

Dean Anja Geitmann is pleased to announce that Professor Petra Rohrbach has accepted the position of Director of Space on the Macdonald Campus effective June 16, 2022 for a five-year term. As part of her mandate, Professor Rohrbach will serve, amongst other things, as Chair of the Macdonald Sub-committee on Physical Facilities and Building Director of the Macdonald-Stewart/Raymond/Barton complex. She has been a member of the academic staff in the Institute of Parasitology since 2008.

Globe and Mail article featuring Prof. Igor Cestari and Prof. Momar Ndao "Until two years ago, mRNA vaccines had never been approved. Now, vast research offers hope in treating more than COVID-19"

Read the full article on The Globe and Mail's website by clicking here, or view the PDF version PDF icon here

Prof. Roger K. Prichard named a #McGill200 Unsung Hero

Congrats to Professor Prichard who was named an Unsung Hero as part of the #McGill200 Bicentennial Celebrations!

Read the full profile on McGill's Bicentennial website.

A word from Associate Member Prof Momar Ndao: McGill joins Moderna in battle against global health threats

McGill University has joined Moderna’s mRNA Access program, which aims to accelerate innovation and enable new vaccines and medicines for emerging and neglected infectious diseases through collaborative research and preclinical development. McGill is the first university in Canada to join this program as it ramps up its international rollout.

Treatment for parasitic infections
Another avenue enabled by the platform is the development of mRNA medicines against parasitic infections, such as Cryptosporidiosis – of which a major outbreak occurred in the USA in 1993 – or Schistosomiasis, a water-borne pathogen that affects more than 250 million people and threatens almost 1 billion people worldwide. These and other parasites are the focus of Momar Ndao, a Professor in the Department of Medicine and a Principal Investigator of the Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health Program (MI4), Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre.

Read the full article in the McGill Reporter

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