ABOUT THE BELGIAN SOCIETY FOR PARASITOLOGY AND PROTISTOLOGY
The Belgian Society for Parasitology (established on 10 February 1962 in Antwerp) and the Belgian Society of Protozoology merged on 19 February 2013 to form the Belgian Society for Parasitology and Protistology (BSPP). The aim of the new BSPP is to promote collaboration between researchers in Parasitology and Protistology at national and international level and support young scientists in the development of their career.
A key activity of the BSPP is the annual scientific meeting which is an opportunity to share research results and network with members of the Belgian parasitology and protistology community. Postgraduate research students are especially encouraged to present their work and an award is given annually for the best student presentation.
BSPP Board of directors
President Carl De Trez (VUB)
Vice-chair Sarah Hendrickx (UA)
Secretary Linda De Vooght (UA)
Treasurer Johannes Charlier (Kreavet)
Members Benjamin Dewals (ULiège)
Sarah Gabriël (UGent)
Philippe Van den Steen (KULeuven)
Frederik Van den Broeck from the Institute of Tropical Medicine receives Boehringer-Ingelheim Parasitology award 2023
Genetic Crossroads: Unravelling Sexual Reproduction in Parasites
Frederik Van den Broeck, a biologist from the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp and the Rega Institute for Medical Research (KU Leuven) receives the Boehringer-Ingelheim prize for his research on the genomics of parasites causing infectious tropical diseases. His work involves collecting data on the genetic variation of these parasites to better understand their biology and evolution.
Climate change, human migration and global trade are leading to more genetic exchange among various parasites. This mingling of genes makes them more resilient. Understanding and monitoring genetic exchange in natural parasite populations is thus crucial for developing and evaluating effective control strategies. Through his research, Van den Broeck has made significant contributions to understanding the details of sexual reproduction in parasites. His work sheds light on the broad and epidemiologically significant impact of genetic exchange in key parasites responsible for severe illnesses, such as leishmaniasis and Chagas disease.
“In my current research, I aim to map the genetic variation of major disease-causing parasites in South America and sub-Saharan Africa”, says Van den Broeck. “My goal is to understand how human-induced changes and the history of human displacement have influenced the spread and epidemiology of vector-borne diseases.” He adds: “I am also committed to delving deeper into the viral diversity within parasites, aiming to gain insights into the emergence of endosymbiotic viruses and their connections to human diseases.” Van den Broeck concludes, “Ultimately, I hope that a detailed understanding of different parasite lineages and their viruses will contribute to monitoring tropical infectious diseases through genomic surveillance.
Neglected Tropical Diseases affect over a sixth of the world
Van den Broeck’s research mainly focuses on neglected tropical diseases, which affect over a sixth of the world’s population and their livestock. Despite their widespread impact, these diseases receive disproportionately less scientific attention compared to HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and COVID-19. By studying various organisms, Van den Broeck’s has made significant strides in understanding the natural diversity and evolution of parasites that harm human and animals. His genome diversity studies have also provided crucial data for tracking parasites, as a vital aspect of disease elimination efforts.
2023 Boehringer Ingelheim Award for Parasitological Research
Update, the deadline for the submission of the application has been postponed to October 31st 2023
In 1996 the board of the Netherlands Society for Parasitology (NVP) and Merial B.V. have introduced the Merial Award for Parasitology. To the appreciation and stimulation of scientific research in the field of veterinary and medical parasitology, the Merial Award was given to researchers originating from Belgium, The Netherlands or Luxembourg (Benelux).
Merial became part of Boehringer Ingelheim in 2017, but a long-standing institution was not changed and the yearly award for excellent parasitological research in the Benelux remains, but its name was then changed to Boehringer Ingelheim Award.
Previous laureates are:
2022 Dr. Matthijs Jore
2020 Dr. Bart Everts
2019 Dr. Luc Coffeng
2018 Dr. Meta Roestenberg
2017 Dr. Guy Caljon
2016 Dr. Bruno Levecke
2015 Dr. Petra Mens
2014 Dr. Pierrick Uzureau
2013 Dr. Stijn Deborggraeve
2012 Dr. Teun Bousema
2011 Dr. Johannes Charlier
2010 Dr. Tine Huyse
2009 Dr. Peter Geldhof
2008 Dr. Taco Kooij
2007 Dr. Stefan Magez
2005 Dr. Filip Claes
2004 Dr. Niko Speybroeck
2003 Dr. Véronique Hannaert
2001 Dr. Milly van Dijk
2000 Dr. Jaap van Hellemond
1999 Dr. Lisette van Lieshout
1998 Dr. Edwin Claerebout
1997 Dr. Maria Yazdanbakhsh
1996 Dr. Lodewijk Tielens
Boehringer Ingelheim Award
The Boehringer Ingelheim Award is a competitive prize for young researchers who have made innovative contributions to the field of veterinary or medical Parasitology. Scientists younger than 40 years of age who have completed their PhD studies and performed additional parasitological research of outstanding quality thereafter are eligible. Along with the certificate honouring the achievement, the winner will receive € 3000. The award is intended to encourage continued professional ambition in parasitology in the Benelux, and to reward scientific quality and active dissemination of results in (inter)national settings.
Rules and regulations
The board of the NVP will yearly choose a committee that will decide upon nominating the candidates. This committee will exist of three members of the NVP with a veterinary or a medical signature, the chairman of the Belgium Society for Parasitology and a representative of Boehringer Ingelheim. The chairman of the committee will be appointed by the board of the NVP. The decision of the committee must also be confirmed by the board of the NVP.
The prize-giving ceremony will take place in November 2023 during the Fall Meeting of the Netherlands Society for Parasitology. Candidates should be prepared to attend this meeting in order to accept the prize and give a presentation on the award-winning research.
Entries / Submission
The Boehringer Ingelheim Award will be presented to a researcher in the field of veterinary or medical parasitology. Candidates from the Benelux who think they might qualify for the Boehringer Ingelheim Award, and those who want to recommend a prospective candidate are invited to write before October 31st 2023 to Lodewijk Tielens. This recommendation (by email only and in one single PDF file) should be accompanied with full information and documentation on the research and other activities of the candidate.
Send proposals to:
Prof.dr. Lodewijk Tielens
Department Biomolecular Health Sciences
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
We are proud to announce the opening for the registration to the annual meeting of the European Veterinary Parasitology College, to be held at the National Veterinary School of Alfort (ENVA), France, from 29th to 30th June.
This is a great opportunity to celebrate at the same time the 20th anniversary of the inaugural meeting of the EVPC which was held at ENVA on the 27th September 2003.
Come and join us!
Bernard Losson was given the 2022 BSPP lifetime achievement award
Boehringer Ingelheim Award: announcement
BSPP ANNUAL SCIENTIFIC MEETING
On behalf of the BSPP board, it is a pleasure to announce our upcoming BSPP 2021 scientific meeting on Tuesday 30th November 2021. The meeting venue will be at campus “klooster van de Grauwzusters” (Lange Sint-Annastraat 7, 2000 Antwerpen), at walking distance from Antwerp Central station. Registration and abstract submission can be done at https://www.bspp.be/bspp-meetings/2021-in-antwerp/
Although the meeting is local and with a relatively modest number of participants, we will keep evaluating the evolution of the COVID-19 situation.
Boehringer-Ingelheim Parasitology award 2020 to Bart Everts
Immunologist Bart Everts from the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) receives the Boehringer-Ingelheim prize for his research on immune responses against parasitic infections. Everts has focused on unraveling how our immune system recognizes and responds to infections with parasitic worms.
Infections with parasitic worms affect more than 2 billion people worldwide, especially in tropical and sub-tropical countries. Parasitic worms represent a very diverse group of pathogens that differ greatly in life cycle, size, and route of infection. Despite this, the immune response mounted against this diverse group of parasites is surprisingly uniform: the so-called Type 2 immune response that can protect against these infections. However, exactly how our immune system activates Type 2 immune responses in response to parasitic worm infections is unclear. Everts' research aims to unravel this.
Type 2 Immune Responses to Schistosomiasis
Everts has made important contributions to identifying the molecules secreted by the parasitic worm Schistosoma that the immune system recognizes to trigger a Type 2 immune response. In addition, he has shown how this exactly works at the molecular level. Also on the host side, studies by Everts have provided new insights. For example, he discovered which immune cells recognize these worms and trigger the Type 2 immune response, but he also identified cells that counteract this response. In these studies he made use of in vitro cell cultures, animal models as well as field studies. With these insights, Everts hopes to find new leads to modulate Type 2 immune responses, which may be relevant not only for drug development against parasitic worm infections, but also for allergies that are characterized by the same type of immune response.
In his current research, Everts focuses, among other things, on identifying the metabolic pathways that immune cells use to mount Type 2 and regulatory immune responses. In recent years it has become clear that how immune cells function is largely determined by their metabolic properties. By inhibiting or enhancing certain metabolic processes in immune cells associated with Type 2 or regulatory immune responses, Everts hopes to be able to direct these immune responses. This could hold promise as a new therapeutic strategy to treat inflammatory diseases in which this types of immune responses are not working properly anymore
Due to the global COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the annual BSPP scientific meeting will be canceled. We are currently looking into alternative meeting dates later during the year.
The Belgian Society for Parasitology & Protistology is holding its annual scientific meeting on the 20th of March 2020 at the University of Antwerp, city campus: “klooster van de Grauwzusters”. For more information about registration and abstract submission please visit the website here.
Infectious disease modeller Luc Coffeng of the Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam has been awarded the Boehringer-Ingelheim Award for his research on neglected tropical diseases. Coffeng works on mathematical models that inform public health policy in resource-limited settings, as well as the optimal design of field studies and clinical studies.
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of tropical infectious diseases that affect over one billion people globally and are mostly prevalent among the poorest of the poor, among whom they perpetuate a cycle of disease and poverty. The research performed by Coffeng aims to inform public health policy on how NTDs can be best controlled or eliminated in resource-limited settings. For instance, his work on intestinal worm infections and visceral leishmaniasis has contributed toward the formulation of new World Health Organisation targets and guidelines for control of these infections by 2030.
Mathematical models of tropical infectious disease transmission
Coffeng has provided a significant contribution to the development of mathematical models that predict how interventions affect the transmission of tropical infectious diseases like intestinal worm infection and visceral leishmaniasis. In his models, Coffeng captures how parasites are transmitted between hosts via the environment or via insects, and how individuals participate in public health interventions. For instance, Coffeng predicted how a change from annual to six-monthly treatment of entire communities (regardless of an individual’s infection status) can lead to control and even elimination of river blindness. Coffeng’s model predictions aim to inform World Health Organisation policy and guidelines, as well as the design of field studies into the control of tropical infectious diseases.
In his current work, Coffeng aims to investigate how mass treatment may help to eliminate parasitic worm infections in resource-limited settings. Using mathematical models, he hopes to predict the impact of human mobility and evolution of drug resistance on prospects of elimination, and how achievement of elimination can be evaluated. In addition, Coffeng works on mathematical models for the optimal design of drug and vaccine trials for malaria and hookworm infection, in collaboration with Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen and Leiden University Medical Center. Ultimately, he hopes these activities will accelerate the control and elimination of tropical infectious diseases.
4th International Conference on Non Tsetse Transmitted Animal Trypanosomosis
COMBAR Training School
INTRODUCTION TO SOCIO-ECONOMICS OF HELMINTH INFECTIONS AND ANTHELMINTIC RESISTANCE IN RUMINANTS 21-23 NOVEMBER, BRUGES, BELGIUM
In this 3-day training school, participants will be introduced to principles and practices of research in socio-economic aspects of animal health management and of helminth infections and AR in particular. More info
The BSP 2019 Spring Meeting
The 2019 BSP Spring meeting is for the first time running as a joint event with the Belgian Society of Parasitology and Protistology and the Netherlands Society for Parasitology. Members from all three Societies will be able to benefit from reduced registration rates.
The meeting will have One Health as an embedded framework running through the four featured subject streams: Cell Biology, Host-Pathogen Interactions, Human Interventions, Ecology and Ecosystems and a workshop in Science Communication.
Visit the website at: https://www.myeventflo.com/event.asp?evID=2226