The Parasitology team conduct basic and applied research into parasites affecting pastoral livestock. Our aim is to transfer the knowledge gained into products and outputs which improve the health of animals and the profitability and competitive advantage of New Zealand’s pastoral sector.
Our scientists, using molecular tools such as RNAi and genetic modification, investigate unique aspects of parasite biology, develop proprietary drug screening technologies, and identify and validate targets for drug screening; as well as looking at the management and control of nematode parasites of sheep and cattle with particular focus on the management of anthelmintic resistance.
The team has a particular focus on mucosal immunology, and is currently investigating parasite-induced immunomodulation, and is developing novel strategies for the delivery of drugs and vaccines to the intestinal immune system. Novel parasite diagnostics have been developed and commercialised for use in marker-assisted selection of naturally-immune sheep. The Team’s research outputs will assist in the development of more sustainable disease control with less reliance on the use of synthetic chemicals in food and fibre producing animals.
The team also identifies drugs for the control of veterinary and companion animal parasites using classical and proprietary endectocide screens in both drug resistant and susceptible isolates; and investigates and modifies host-parasite interactions and host responses to parasite infection using adeno-associated viral vectors to up- or down-regulate host gene expression.
Researchers are based at the Hopkirk Research Institute and the Grasslands Research Centre.