The next ISP annual meeting will be held on June 1st and 2nd, 2023, in Tralee, Co. Kerry.

The Irish Society for Parasitology meeting will be held at MTU Tralee. It will take place on June 1st and 2nd 2023, so the perfect opportunity to visit Kerry and then stay on for the long weekend if you wish (https://www.discoverkerry.com/en/).

Register to attend now via the following link: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/irish-society-for-parasitology-meeting-tickets-574406624677 Submit your abstract via the abstract submission form.

All talks related to parasitology are welcome. The theme of this meeting is “Parasitology and One Health” and we are extremely grateful for our primary sponsor Kerry Agribusiness.
Also, to Munster Technological University, the Molecular Parasitology Laboratory, University of Galway with SFI and Parasitology, Cambridge University Press for additional sponsorship. The ISP committee have put a very exciting scientific programme in place, which will include graduate students, early-career researchers and established investigators, as well as a great social night and the opportunity to bring parasitology to the local community. As undergraduate students are the future of our society we are keen to increase their involvement in meetings and therefore for the first time this meeting will include a “lightening talk” session for undergraduates this year.   

Read on for more about our great line up of invited speakers:

Dr. Derek McKay, University of Calgary, Canada

Dr. Derek McKay’s research focuses on the regulation of intestinal physiology and immunity in health and disease, specifically: (a) the role of the microbiota, immune mediators and mitochondria in the control of epithelial barrier function; and, (b) the use of a helminth-rodent model paradigm to dissect pathways of immune-modulation, that has lead to an interest in the regulatory macrophage. He has published seminal work on how infection with this helminth reduces colitis in murine model systems. He has held continuous peer-reviewed grant support since 1996 from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR: 1996-2027), The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC: 2007-2023), and Crohn’s Colitis Canada (1997-2021). His research pairs with a commitment to mentoring, matching training to the goals of the trainee.

Dr. McKay received his Ph.D. from The Queen’s University of Belfast (N. Ireland) and followed this with post-doctoral training at McMaster University (Canada), where he accepted a faculty position in the Intestinal Disease Research Program in 1995. In 2006 he was appointed Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Calgary. With ~180 peer-reviewed publications and 180 invited presentations, Dr. McKay has received research awards from the American Gastroenterological Association, American Society for Parasitology, Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG), Canadian Society for Zoologists, and Crohn’s Colitis Canada (CCC), being awarded the CCC Research Leadership Award in 2011 and elected a Fellow of CAG in 2016. Dr. McKay was President of the CAG (2014-2016), and is only the second PhD to hold this position in the Associations’ 70-year history. In 2020, he was elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Science and received an Honorary Doctor of Medicine from the University of Linkoping, Sweden in 2022.

In the fall of 2020, he was appointed Director of the Calvin, Phoebe and Joan Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, promoting a translational research agenda with the goal of advancing patient care in chronic and infectious disease.


Dr. Maarten Vanhove (Hasselt University, Belgium)

Research interests:

  • Evolutionary parasitology, with a focus on parasitic flatworms
  • Biodiversity science in the Global South: capacity development and policy translation for the sustainable management of African aquatic ecosystems  

The extraordinary species richness of parasites is often linked to typical speciation mechanisms. Hence, I think of evolutionary parasitology as a prime playground for studying the mechanisms underlying biodiversity. Often working in Africa, I consider it an obvious matter of equal opportunities to collaborate with colleagues and stakeholders from the Global South.

Our team focuses on the biodiversity and morphological and molecular evolution of parasites and their aquatic hosts, with a focus on fishes and their monogeneans, and parasitic flatworms in general. We choose our model systems in function of fundamental biological questions (e.g. the scientifically challenging genetic diversity of flatworms, the phenomenon of radiation and species flocks) but often also because of the policy-relevant context (e.g. invasive alien species; endemism and conservation; fisheries; indicators for anthropogenic impact). Therefore, our other research line focuses on the translation of biodiversity information into decision making, capacity building and sustainable development, especially in Africa.

My favorite quote: “Travel has lost its innocence. Every booking involves certain choices. And people who spend their holidays in a country beyond the Mediterranean Sea, are today signalling their rejection of hatred and fear. They are showing that they still hope for international understanding, and are open to the world and in particular to people who are making an honest effort to bring about progress and development.” -Walter M. Weiss, 2004

Rebecca Armstrong, (Queens University Belfast, Northern Ireland)

My research focuses on the functional characterisation of developmental signalling pathways in the liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica, with a particular emphasis on their stem cell dynamics. This is achieved using a range of functional genomics tools with the aim of identifying and validating novel drug targets.


The 2022 Annual Meeting of the Irish Society for Parasitology was held in National University of Ireland Galway.

A hybrid event with 61 registered in person attendees and 22 virtual attendees, it was the first conference attended by many of the PhD students and they had a great experience. The Keynote speaker who presented virtually was Prof Conor Caffrey from  Skaggs School of Pharmacy UC San Diego who presented a talk entitled " The schistosome parasite: developing tools to aid drug discovery" .  The plenary speakers were Dr Nikki Walshe from University College Dublin Veterinary School whos talk entitled " From equine vet to wannabe parasitologist. An indirect lifecycle" was received with great interest from the audience and Dr Hannah Vineer from the University of Liverpool who delivered a talk on the second day of the conference entitled " Know your enemy: modelling to inform sustainable parasite control".  

Our conference speakers were from University of California, Queen’s University Belfast, University College Dublin, the National Museum of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, The Swedish Museum of Natural History, Munster Technological University, Kano State Polytechnic Nigeria, National University of Ireland Galway, The University of Bath and The University of Lincoln. A number of travel awards for undergraduate and early career researchers sponsored by the Irish Society for Parasitology were awarded to conference delegates.



Due to the ongoing pandemic situation we moved online for our annual meeting, which took place on March 26th, 2021.

We were delighted to be joined by plenary speaker Professor Elizabeth Innes (Moredun Research Institute, Edinburgh Scotland) who presented a talk titled  Toxoplasma gondii: The world's most successful parasite? 

Keynote speakers included Prof Russell Stothard (Liverpool University) and Prof Tom Kelly (University College Cork).



Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), Northern Ireland.

JOHN GILLEARD, University of Calgary, Canada. Benzimidazole resistance in Haemonchus contortus.

The ‘Prof. William C. Campbell Award for PhD Candidates’ sponsored by Cambridge University Press (publishers of Parasitology) was awarded to Paula Tierney, then at Trinity College Dublin.


Palace of the Academies, Brussels, Belgium (held jointly with BSPP, ISP, BAVP & EVPC).

GREG MATLASHEWSKI, McGill University, Canada.  CRISPR genome editing in Leishmania.

RICHARD WALL, University of Bristol. Tick and tick-borne diseases in the UK: the lessons from large scale surveillance studies.

GUY HENDRICKX, AviaGIS, Zoersel, Belgium. VecMap: bridging the gap between research and decision making.

JEREMY SALT, Galvmed, Edinburgh, UK. The Animal African Trypanosomosis (Tryps) Programme by GalvMed and the Gates foundation: how do we enable substantial and sustainable solutions for African farmers?


Trinity College, Dublin

MARK TAYLOR, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.  Exploiting the symbiosis of Wolbachia and filarial nematodes for new treatments for lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis.


Queen’s University, Belfast

PHILIP SKUCE, Moredun Research Institute. Anthelmintic resistance progress?


University College Dublin

Joint meeting of the Irish Society for Parasitology, British Association for Veterinary Parasitology and the European Veterinary Parasitology College. Theme Parasite Vaccines – Are We There Yet? - with seven key-note presentations

JOHN DALTON. Fasciola hepatica vaccines? It’s been a bumpy, winding road with no clear signs!

THEO SCHETTERS. Vaccination against canine babesiosis

DAVID SMITH. Barbervax: potentially a new tool for the control of Barber’s Pole worm of sheep

MARSHALL LIGHTOWLERS. Recombinant anti-parasite vaccines that actually work: anti-cestode vaccines

FIONA TOMLEY. Advances in vaccination strategies for Dermanyssus gallinae

LUIGI GRADONI. Canine Leishmania vaccines: still a long way to go

RON HOKKE. Schistosoma vaccines


Dublin City University, Dublin

PADRAIC FALLON, Trinity College, Dublin. Researching tropical parasitic helminths in Dublin: did you know Ireland is not in the tropics?

MARK ROBINSON, Queens University, Belfast. Helminth defence molecules - utility players in the host-parasite interaction


Trinity College, Dublin

ERIC MORGAN, School of Biological Sciences, Bristol University. Climate change and parasites: hot air or a damp squib?


Veterinary Research Laboratory, Backweston, Co. Kildare (with the BVA)

SARAH RANDOLPH, Dept of Zoology, Oxford University. Increasing tick-borne diseases: environmental and socioeconomic drivers


University College Cork, Cork.

EILEEN HARRIS, Natural History Museum, London. Helminth parasites in stranded cetaceans


Meeting with the British Society for Parasitology, Queens University Belfast


Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, Backweston, Celbridge, Co. Kildare.

NOEL MURPHY, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Co. Kildare.  Do African trypanosomes talk to each other?


Ramada Hotel, Belfast (in association with SafeFood)

ANNE BURNELL, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Co. Kildare.  Gene discovery and transcriptomic analysis in insect parasitic nematodes


Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, Abbotstown, Dublin.

ANDY FORBES, Merial, UK. The effects of parasites on host behaviour


Joint meeting with the British Association of Veterinary Parasitology, York   University

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Belfield, UCD, Dublin.       

BERNARD LOSSON, University of Liège, Belgium. Echinococcus multilocularis in southern Belgium

Trinity College, Dublin

RICHARD TINSLEY, Bristol University. Regulation of parasite infection levels: a case study based on monogeneans


Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, Abbotstown, Dublin.

PAUL DEAR, MRC Molecular Biology, Cambridge. Parasite genomes: don't worry, be happy.