Principles and Methods in Parasitology

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EEB 3898: Principles and Methods in Parasitology

Intensive Summer Session, May 13th - 31st, 2013

Day, Time: Weekdays, 9 am to 12 pm
Place: Storrs campus, Torrey Life Sciences (TLS) Room 313
Credits: 3 (open to majors and non-majors)

Instructor: Dr. Maria Pickering


Office: TLS 478

Phone: 860-486-1882

Office hours: variable & flexible (call, email, drop by)

Course Summary

The importance and wonders of parasitology will be highlighted in this intensive 3-week course. This hands-on course will use field collections, laboratories, and discussions to introduce students to the basic principles of parasitology. Topics covered will include host-parasite interactions, parasite life cycles, methods of transmission, and parasite adaptations. Focusing primarily on local parasites, students will also be familiarized with methods of fixation, preparation, and identification of parasites.

Course Procedures and Policies

Academic Integrity:
Plagiarism and cheating are violations of the student conduct code, and may be punished by failure in the course or, in severe cases, dismissal from the University. For more information, see Appendix A of the Student Conduct Code.

If you have a disability for which you may be requesting an accommodation, you should contact a course instructor and the Center for Students with Disabilities (Wilbur Cross Building, Room 201) within the first two weeks of the semester.

is mandatory.

Evolving Syllabus

Date Topics Field/Lab Activity Due Dates Homework
May 13
Introduction and course logistics; classification system; definitions Getting to know your Microscopes! Field trip form; Microscope Tutorial; watch parasitoid video; classification assignment
May 14
Quantitative parasitological terms Hissing Cockroach dissection Calculate prevalence, mean intensity, abundance from class data; Scientific names of 2 hosts of your choice
May 15
Labeling; look at examples of major groups; Life cycles Tour of UCONN Biological Collections Quiz #1 Learn pin worm life cycle; review phyla (etymologies and pond ecosystem handouts)
May 16
Leech Day! (Phylum Annelida) W-Lot Pond Excursion Continue the review of phyla (etymologies and pond ecosystem handouts)
May 17
Go over parasitic phyla; Transmission strategies Fenton River Trip Quiz #2 How to read a scientific paper handout; read 2 papers to be handed out (be prepared to discuss them Monday!)
May 20
Discuss Wood et al. 2007 paper; discuss host-parasites of coastal systems Life cycle activity Parasite-in-the-news Presentations (Ruchi) Learn coastal invertebrates; review life cycles
May 21
Biodiversity and life cycles Coastal Field Trip! Parasite-in-the-news Presentations (Angela, James) Study for your midterm!
May 22
Biodiversity Examine coastal critters Parasite-in-the-news Presentations (Madiha, Dan, Joe) Study for your midterm!
May 23
Midterm Choose worms to stain Notebooks due; Parasite-in-the-news Presentations (Angela, Gloria, Asad)
May 24
Start staining Staining/slide preparations Notebooks due; Parasite-in-the-news Presentations (Joe, Ewelina, Ruchi) Paper topic; Parasites-around-the-world assignment
May 27
No Class No Class No Class Work on paper topic!
May 28
Finish staining and mounting Continue staining/slide preparations Quiz #3; Parasites-around-the-world assignment due; Parasite-in-the-news Presentations (Madiha, Gloria, Ruchi) Work on paper topic! Draft due tomorrow!
May 29
Digene morphology Snail dissection; make slide labels; drawing of fluke Papers due to reviewer; Parasite-in-the-news Presentations (Eldar, James, Dan) Peer-review partner's paper
May 30
Protozoan day!; Parasite adaptations; Prevention of Parasites Examine the slides we made; Meet with peer-reviewer Papers due to partners; Parasite-in-the-news Presentations (Eldar, Ewelina, Asad) Revise paper (final draft due tomorrow!); Bring 1-2 questions regarding classmates' topics
May 31
Final Round table discussion of paper topics and Parasites-around-the-world Final Paper Due; Peer-review comments Due; Notebook Check 2 Enjoy your summer!


Midterm: 50 points
Final: 50 points
Unannounced quizzes (5 total, lowest quiz dropped): 20 points

Participation: 20 points
In-class exercises: 20 points
Homework: 20 points

Parasites-in-the-news presentations (5 points each): 10 points
Parasite question of your choosing (paper and presentation): 30 points
Parasites-around-the-world (write up and presentation): 20 points

Lab notebook check 1: 15 points
Lab notebook check 2: 15 points
Slide preparations: 30 points

(converted to a % for final grade)

Grading scale: A = 100-90%, B = 89-80%, C = 79-70%, D = 69-60%, F = 59-0%. Plus/minus system will be used for the final grade.

Supplemental Books

Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms by Donald J. Borror

Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer

Resources and/or Links of Interest

Microscope Tutorial

Parasitoid Video

Phylum Platyhelminthes
Zombie snail video!

Phylum Mollusca
Glochidia larvae being transferred to fish host video

Phylum Nematomorpha
Nematomorph website

Nematomorph emerging from cricket video

Phylum Nematoda
Guinea worm (Dracunculus medinensis) Eradication website

Excellent Guinea worm video!

Phylum Arthropoda
Rhizocephalan life cycle video

General Information
Overview of major parasitic groups
Principles of Parasitism: online lab tutorial in parasitology from Univ. of Alberta
Human Parasitology Tutorial
Parasites Online
Illustrations of the parasite life cycles here are great!

Fun, entertaining
Parasite of the Day Blog
TWIP--This Week In Parasitism, a podcast
Parasites featured on CreatureCast