Molecular Helminthology Laboratory Model Species – Strongylids

Strongylid parasites include many important nematode parasites of humans (such as hookworms Necator and Ancylostoma). These worms infect about a billion people mostly in tropical regions. Larval worms pass through the skin and migrate to the intestine where they attach and feed on blood leading to deteriorating health, especially with heavy infections. We are collaborating with Dr. Peter Hotez at George Washington University and Dr. Michael Cappello at Yale to characterize the antigens exposed to the host in the infectious larval stages as possible vaccine targets. For more information on hookworm, visit the CDC website.

A number of strongylid parasites are of veterinary importance (such as Haemonchus, Ostertagia, and Trichostrongylus). These worms reside as adults in the gastrointestinal tract and pass eggs through the feces. Anthelmintic treatments are available but are becoming less effective due to the development of resistance in many of these parasites. The Molecular Helminthology Laboratory is collaborating with AgResearch in New Zealand to characterize Strongylid host-interactive surface antigens that play a role in immune rejection of nematodes. The lab's major models are Trichostrongylus colubriformis in sheep and Heligmosomoides polygyrus in mice and rats.

For more information about the Molecular Helminthology Laboratory's research with this model species please see the Strongylids Project Page and the Nematode Publications page.