Prof. Robert Poulin – Zoology Department, University of Otago, New Zealand

Originally from Montreal, Canada, Robert obtained a BSc from McGill University and a PhD from Laval University, before eventually joining the University of Otago in 1992. Since arriving there, he has established a research programme in parasite ecology and evolution that focuses on broad questions but not on any particular taxa. Currently, his research group has four main research directions. First, his lab investigates the forces shaping the evolution of parasites, in particular the evolution of life history traits such as body size, host specificity, the ability to manipulate host behaviour, and the complexity of the transmission pathways. Second, they are studying the role of parasites in aquatic ecosystems, i.e. how they affect community diversity and food web stability, and how parasitism may interact with climate change to influence the properties of ecosystems. Third, Robert has long been exploring large-scale patterns of parasite biodiversity and biogeography, searching for the processes behind the diversification and distribution of parasites and diseases. Finally, Robert and his team are now turning toward the role of parasite microbiomes in shaping the host-parasite interaction. Robert was awarded Otago University’s Distinguished Research Medal in 2013, the Hutton Medal from the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2011 for outstanding contribution to animal sciences, the Wardle Medal from the Canadian Society of Zoologists in 2007 for outstanding contribution to parasitology, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2001.

Dr Stephen (Ash) Bullard – Auburn University, School of Fisheries, USA

Originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee (southeastern United States), Ash earned his BSc from the University of South Carolina in 1997 before earning a MSc and PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2002 and 2007 (Gulf Coast Research Laboratory) under the direction of Robin Overstreet. He was hired at Auburn University in 2008 as a tenure-track Assistant Professor and is now a Full Professor in the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences. At Auburn University, he is Director of the Southeastern Cooperative Fish Parasite and Disease Project, a multistate disease diagnostics cooperative established in 1965. He is also curator of parasites at the AU Natural History Museum and serves as an associate or section editor for the Journal of Parasitology, Parasitology Research, and Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. Ash is a parasitologist, who trains students as field biologists, analytical researchers, diagnosticians, teachers, and scholars of parasitology. They explore taxonomy, systematics, and parasite biology by collecting parasites, symbionts, and pathogens in association with invertebrates and vertebrates in rivers, lakes, estuaries, and oceanic localities nearby and abroad. His group conducts expeditions in SE Asia, South America, North America, and Africa; principally with the aim to discover and document new parasite lineages infecting aquatic invertebrates and vertebrates.

Dr Sandra Telfer – School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Sandra Telfer is a Wellcome Trust Senior Research fellow based at the University of Aberdeen in the UK. Sandra obtained her BSc from the University of Edinburgh, and her MSc and PhD from the University of Aberdeen. Her research addresses both fundamental and applied questions related to host-parasite dynamics in wild populations and the threat posed by wildlife diseases to human and livestock health. Her research is interdisciplinary, combining field studies and genetic analyses, as well as social science methodologies. Sandra works in Madagascar, collaborating closely with the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, and the UK, researching a range of rodent microparasites, including Leptospira, Yersinia, Rickettsia and Bartonella. Her group explores how spatial and temporal variation in rodent infection rates and the diversity of pathogens depend on climate, habitat, and the abundance and diversity of host and vector populations. In Madagascar, they also investigate how exposure rates in humans depend on environmental and socio-economic factors, and the development of strategies to reduce risk, such as more effective management of rodent populations.



Prof. Maxwell Barson – Department of Biological Sciences, University of Botswana, Botswana

Maxwell Barson was born in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1976, where he grew up, was educated and eventually entered the University of Zimbabwe in 1996. He is married to Caroline and they are blessed with 5 children. Within a decade between 1999 and 2009, he obtained four academic degrees with 3 institutions: BSc Honours in Biological Sciences (University of Zimbabwe, 1999); MPhil in Fish Parasitology (University of Zimbabwe, 2002); MSc in Aquatic Health (University of Johannesburg, RSA, 2004); PhD in Biology (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, 2009)

Maxwell worked as a junior lecturer at UZ from 2004, then was progressively promoted to senior lecturer (2010) and associate professor in 2016. He is the first fish parasitologist in post-independent Zimbabwe and his research has spanned several aspects of fish parasitology (systematics, ecology, histopathology, ecotoxicology), as well as fish disease diagnostics and other aspects of aquatic parasitology (e.g. snail-trematode interactions, ectoparasitology, waterborne protozoans). His interest in platyhelminths of fish led to the discovery of a new cestode genus and species, Barsonella lafoni, patronymised in his honour, as well as descriptions of several monogenean and cestode species.

Prof Barson has successfully guided 4 PhD students, 14 masters and many honours students from universities in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Belgium. He also an alumnus of the US Fulbright Research Scholar fellowship and has presented papers at many parasitological symposia in Africa and Europe. Prof Barson also served for three years as a member of the World Animal Health Organisation’s (OIE) Aquatic Animal Health Standards Committee. He has also consulted for the FAO, OIE and the AU-IBAR on matters relating to fish health in Africa. To date, he has authored 40 articles in peer-reviewed publications, inclusive of journal articles, book chapters and conference proceedings.

Prof Barson has recently joined the University of Botswana as a zoology professor.

Dr Munyaradzi Christopher Marufu – Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Dr Chris Marufu is a veterinary parasitologist who obtained a BVSc degree (2006) from the University of Zimbabwe, an MSc degree (2009) with distinction from the University of Fort Hare and a PhD degree (2014) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. After working at academic and government institutions for about 12 years, he was appointed as a Senior Lecturer and Veterinary Parasitologist in the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases (University of Pretoria) in 2019. Dr Marufu is involved in teaching of undergraduate Veterinary Science and Veterinary Nursing courses in Helminthology, ticks and tick-borne diseases, and the supervision of graduate students. In addition, he has been guest lecturing, moderating honours courses and externally examining theses for several universities in South Africa. Dr Marufu’s research focuses on finding sustainable solutions to animal health challenges caused by parasites in different animal production systems. He is a National Research Foundation Y2 (Young Promising) rated scientist

Dr Jeremy Herren – International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Kenya

Jeremy Herren is an entomologist / microbiologist with interested in the interactions between insect-endosymbionts and their hosts. Insect endosymbionts are seen by many as the most promising new technological advance in the field of vector-borne disease control. Jeremy’s current research goals are to develop endosymbiont-based strategies to control vector-borne diseases (especially malaria) in Africa. To meet this goal, Jeremy has established a cutting-edge endosymbiont-research facility at icipe, Nairobi. His team have recently discovered novel bacterial and microsporidian symbionts of Anopheles mosquitoes with malaria transmission-blocking capacities. His ongoing research is focused on harnessing these symbionts and using them as part of an integrated control strategy for malaria.


The provisional programme for the Congress is as follow:

12h00 – 16h00 – Pre-congress Workshop: Writing a scientific publication, that will include information on Predatory Journals and How to write Response letters (i.e. addressing reviewers’ comments).
12h00 – 16h00 – Pre-congress meetingAfrican Parasite Network Meeting – Embracing and advancing interdisciplinary research in parasitology on the African continent (click here for more information)
16h00 – Registration for congress opens
18h30 – Welcome Reception at Congress Venue

07h30 – Registration
08h00 – Welcome
08h15 –  Keynote Speaker
09h00 – Parallel Session 1
10h30 –  Coffee/Tea & Poster Viewing
11h00 – Parallel Session 2
12h30 – Lunch
13h30 – Parallel Session 3
15h00 – End of Day 1
18h00 – Catered Boma-braai @ Cattle Baron Lapa – only for non-students & accompanying persons (free evening for students and post-docs)

07h30 – Registration
08h00 – Announcements
08h15 –  Keynote Speaker
09h00 – Parallel Session 4
10h30 – Coffee/Tea & Poster Viewing
11h00 – Parallel Session 5
12h30 – Lunch
13h30 – Parallel Session 6
15h00 – End of Day 2
18h00 – Catered Boma-braai @ Cattle Baron Lapa – only for students and post-docs (free evening for non-students)

07h30 – Registration
08h00 – Announcements
08h15 – Keynote Speaker
09h00 – Parallel Session 7
10h30 – Coffee/Tea & Poster Viewing
11h00 – Parallel Session 8
12h30 – Lunch
13h30 –  Parallel Session 9
15h00 –  End of Congress
15h30 – PARSA AGM
19h00 – Gala Dinner at Congress Venue

Departure of all guests

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