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In order to create anti-parasitic medications like filariasis treatment, researchers like Dr. Geary study how parasites hide from their hosts. When you listen in to this discussion, you’ll learn:

  • How parasites are closer in cell type to us than bacteria and why that makes them harder to kill.
  • Why the coevolution of humans and malaria has made it unique among parasites.
  • Why molecules that parasites release like micro RNAs may be the key to their ability to hide from their host and survive.

Dr. Timothy Geary serves as Chair in Parasite Biotechnology at McGill University and also has an appointment at Queen’s University in Belfast. His background is in pharmacology, but he has developed a specialty in anti-parasitic medication discovery. This includes genomic work on the host-parasitic interface, especially for filariasis treatment and gastrointestinal nematode infections.

In this podcast, he explains several aspects of how parasites function and how vertebrates and arthropod vectors maintain the parasite’s sometimes-complex lifecycle. Adaptive pressures affect parasites to the same extent as most animal life and Dr. Geary describes some interesting results of this such as the lower instance of immunological bowel diseases in regions where parasites are more common. 

He also helps differentiate parasitic nomenclature in a way that explains how and why many parasites can continue their life cycle so successfully. He catalogs the difference between single-celled protozoan parasites like the originators of toxoplasmosis and multi-celled nematode creatures.

Finally, he explains his work to understand how parasites go into “stealth mode” and why this may lead to better anti-parasitic medication and treatment.

Learn more about contacting Dr. Geary and find a list of his publications at https://www.mcgill.ca/parasitology/faculty/geary

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