Strongylid parasites include many important nematode parasites of humans (such as hookworms Necator and Ancylostoma). These worms infect about a billion people world-wide, 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 seek to characterize the antigens exposed to the host in the infectious larval stages of gastrointestinal (GI) nematode parasites as possible vaccine or therapeutic targets. These worms reside as adults in the GI 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. This research is currently inactive as we seek funding support. For more information about the Molecular Helminthology Laboratory’s research with these model species please see the Strongylids Project Page and the Nematode Publications page.
As with other parasites, the Molecular Helminthology Laboratory seeks to characterize strongylid host-interactive surface antigens that play a role in immune rejection.