Odile Bain Memorial Prize 2021: Brilliant early-career scientists in parasitology recognised - Veterinary Practice
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Odile Bain Memorial Prize 2021: Brilliant early-career scientists in parasitology recognised

Researchers in the field of parasitology celebrated for contributions early in their scientific careers

To celebrate outstanding contributions in the field of parasitology early on in their scientific careers, Dr Goylette Chami, University of Oxford, UK, and Dr Barbora Pafčo from the Czech Academy of Sciences and University of Veterinary Sciences, Brno, were awarded with the Odile Bain Memorial Prize 2021. Since 2014, The ”Odile Bain Memorial Prize“ (OBMP) is given out annually under the sponsorship of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health as well as the scientific publisher Parasites & Vectors.

“The award serves to advance young parasitologists as well as to perpetuate the memory of Odile Bain, a pioneer in the field of parasitology,” explains professor Domenico Otranto, president of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology. In a virtual ceremony during the WAAVP Dublin 2021 congress on 20 July 2021, he handed the prize over to the winners.

An epidemiological perspective on parasitology

Goylette Chami’s research interests concern improving the treatment of parasitic worms in sub-Saharan Africa. Her excellent work significantly contributed to the study of mass drug administration (MDA) through pioneering network graphing for evaluating MDA and neglected tropical diseases. In addition, Goylette Chami’s studies on key social determinants of persistent schistosomiasis (an “acute and chronic disease caused by parasitic worms,” according to the World Health Organization) and hookworm infection have been particularly appreciated for their impact on marginalised individuals. “I plan to put my prize money towards researching how we can relate schistosome exposure over an individual’s life to disease progression,” says Goylette Chami.

Focus on strongylid nematodes

Barbora Pafčo’s work is focused on studying strongylid nematodes, recently shedding light on the factors leading to gastritis caused by parasitic nematodes in mountain gorillas. She has also been studying strongylid nematodes in cattle in the Czech Republic and the worldwide distribution of nematodes of the genus Necator, with implications for the potential of drug resistance and zoonotic risk. She is interested in parasite ecology, host-parasite relationship, and molecular diversity of pathogens. Barbora Pafčo shares: “Among other things, receiving the Odile Bain Memorial Prize shows me that my contributions are valued, which motivates me even more to strive for excellence.”

Following in the footsteps of Odile Bain

The two winners receive a cash prize each. Additionally, they may participate in the WAAVP Dublin 2021 congress at no cost, to benefit from learning and networking opportunities. The winners receive a waiver of the charges for the publication of one article in Parasites & Vectors. Marielle Servonnet, global technical director at Pet Parasiticides Boehringer Ingelheim, adds: “We’re excited to see what Goylette Chami and Barbora Pafčo will be doing next and are proud to contribute towards supporting their research through this prize.”

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