Showing posts with label Blastocystis Research. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blastocystis Research. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Blastocystis PhD position available with Tasos

Hi all,

Just spreading the word: 

There is a funded PhD opportunity (!!!) in Dr Tsaousis' lab on Blastocystis:

'Identifying the parasitic or passenger role of Blastocystis, in patients with gastrointestinal disease'

available for September 16th start!  


Deadline for applications is 22 April.

Find more info here

Special issue on Blastocystis, Pneumocystis and microsporidia in 'Frontiers'

The online journal 'Frontiers in Microbiology - Infectious Diseases' will be publishing a special issue on Blastocystis, Pneumocystis and microsporidia as opportunistic eukaryotes and controversial pathogens.

Please go and see the call for papers here.

Topics editors include Olga Matos, Lihua Xiao and myself.

(Blastocystis images towards the right courtesy of Marianne Lebbad)

Monday, October 15, 2018

2nd International Blastocystis Conference Wrap-Up - Part I

The 2nd International Blastocystis Conference has been completed with great success. It was a very worthy sequel to the first conference in Ankara back in 2015, attracting about 100 delegates.

The Scientific Committee (image above) consisted of Prof Funda Dogruman-Al (main organiser of the 1st International Blastocystis Symposium), Senior Scientist Rune Stensvold, and Associate Prof Juan-David Ramírez González, who also headed the local organising committee (LOC; image below).

We are all very thankful to Juan-David and his colleagues, the entire LOC, the Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá and La Fontana Hotel, which provided an excellent framework with premium facilities.

The Faculty can be seen on the image below. From left to right, it's Rodolfo Casero, [Magdalena Maria Martinez Agüero, Director of Investigation and Innovation, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales Y Matemáticas, Universidad del Rosario], Andrew Roger, Rune Stensvold, Hisao Yoshikawa, Raul Tito Tadeo, Monica Santin-Duran, Funda Dogruman-Al, Kevin Tan, and Juan David Ramirez Gonzalez. Workshop sessions and keynote lectures were developed and given by members of the Faculty.

The workshop took place on 9–10 October and covered sessions on diagnosis (microscopy, culture, PCR, etc.), in vivo and in vitro experimental models, subtype calling from DNA sequence data, gut microbiota analysis (NGS data processing in R), genomics and evolution (introduction to Blastocystis genomics and resources available), and theoretical topics linked to epidemiology, clinical microbiology and infectious disease issues.

Some of the workshop participants and Faculty members

The conference took place on 11–12 October and consisted of nine keynote lectures delivered by the Faculty members, 12 oral presentations and 22 poster presentations.

The award for the best oral presentation was given to Justinn Hamilton who is an ecologist now based at University of Copenhagen for his talk 'Exploring interactions between Blastocystis sp., other intestinal parasites and the gut microbiomes of wild Chimpanzees (Senegal): Not-so-friendly old-friends-hypothesis'.

The award for the best poster presentation went to David Carmena's group for the impressive study 'Molecular epidemiology of Blastocystis sp. in asymptomatic school children from Madrid, Spain'.

The workshop programme can be viewed/downloaded here, and the conference programme is available here. The poster programme is available here.
Please go here to browse conference proceedings, and here for workshop guidelines.
Stay tuned for Wrap Up Part II and III, which will include more photos and some of the take-home messages from the conference.

Please also follow @Blastocystis on Twitter and and the International Blastocystis Network Facebook page for updates/pictures from the conference.

Monday, October 1, 2018

2nd International Blastocystis Conference just around the corner!

Need I remind you that the 2nd International Blastocystis Conference is just around the corner!

You can find an updated list of speakers and the entire programme here.

It will be a total of 4 (f-o-u-r!!) days of discussion of Blastocystis research and sharing of experience in terms of e.g. diagnostics, typing, and genome sequencing.

We'll be covering most areas, including clinical and public health significance, host specificity, genetic diversity, genomics, metagenomics/amplicon-based sequencing, Blastocystis in the clinical microbiology setting, etc. And of course there will be a lot of survey data.

Need I say that I look forward to this?


I hope to see quite a few of you in Bogotá!

Please follow the International Blastocystis Network (IBN) on Facebook and @Blastocystis on Twitter. We will be posting there during the conference....

(IBN stimulates and promotes activities related to research in Blastocystis. IBN is a member of the World Federation of Parasitologists)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Updates on 2nd International Blastocystis Conference

Three months until kick-off of 2nd International Blastocystis Conference in Bogotá!

A couple of updates:

  • Abstract submission deadline has been postponed to 15th of August 2018
  • We have had a couple of speaker cancellations. Drs Pauline Scanland and Katerina Pomajbikova will not be able to participate. Hopefully, we'll be blessed by their presence at the next big Blasto event. Instead, Drs Raul Tito-Tadeo and Hisao Yoshikawa have very kindly accepted to give keynote lectures and lead workshop sessions. And so we will still have a great event!
For more information on workshop and conference, please visit the official conference website here.

Since it's summer here in Europe, and since I love Phlox, I thought, I'd attach a couple of images that I received yesterday from my dear friend Jaco Verweij.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

PhD position available in Pauline's lab

Message from Dr Pauline D Scanlan (view personal website here):

Friday, October 13, 2017

Official Poster for the 2nd International Blastocystis Conference

Thanks to Juan-David Ramirez Gonzales and his colleauges, the official poster for the 2nd International Blastocystis Conference is now available.

I put it on Google Drive as a pdf file, which you can download here. Please share it on facebook. Please also print it and use it to adorn your institutes, hospital departments, offices, canteens, homes, etc... Thanks!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Trends in Blastocystis Research

I thought I'd post two current conference abstracts to exemplify some of the trends in  Blastocystis research.

The first is from Dr Pauline D Scanlan, who will be speaking at 15th International Congress of Protistology currently taking place in Prague. Go here for more info about the meeting.

In the symposium 'The eukaryome, bringing protists into the spotlight of microbiome research' taking place today, Pauline will be giving a talk with the title:

Inter-Kingdom Interactions in the human gut microbiome-the prevalence of the intestinal protist Blastocystis is linked to host age, antibiotic use and gut bacterial diversity and composition

and the abstract reads like this:

The human gut is host to a complex microbial ecosystem that plays a central role in host health. In addition to bacteria, viruses and archaea, the gut microbiota includes a diversity of fungal and protist species that are collectively referred to as the gut ‘eukaryome’. Although research into the gut eukaryome is in its infancy, emerging data indicates that the intestinal protist Blastocystis is perhaps the most common member of the human gut eukaryome worldwide. Despite its association with intestinal disease, asymptomatic carriage is common with Blastocystis frequently observed in surveys of the healthy adult gut microbiome. Furthermore, Blastocystis is less prevalent in chronic diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome compared to healthy controls. Antibiotic administration significantly reduces Blastocystis prevalence rates between case and controls groups with the reduction in Blastocystis prevalence in the antibiotic treated group possibly due to direct effects on Blastocystis and/or secondary loss due to loss of bacteria that Blastocystis interacts with. In support of this latter hypothesis, data showing correlations between the presence of Blastocystis and specific features of the bacterial component of the gut microbiome (high diversity and a specific bacterial composition) are suggestive of inter-kingdom interactions between bacteria and Blastocystis in the gut microbiome. Blastocystis is less prevalent in infant populations relative to contemporaneous adult populations indicating that Blastocystis is not adapted to the infant gut. Given the difference in microbiome composition and diversity in infants compared to adults perhaps Blastocystis requires a more adult-like gut microbiome for successful colonisation. Collectively, emerging data suggests that successful colonisation of the gut by Blastocystis is linked to the composition and diversity of the bacterial fraction of human gut microbiome. Consequently, interactions between Blastocystis and bacteria in the gut microbiome may account for some of the variation in prevalence rates observed across age, health and geography.
Along similar lines, I will be giving a talk at the EMBO conference 'Anaerobic protists: Integrating Parasitology with mucosal microbiota and immunology' running from 31 AUG to 03 SEP in Newcastle, UK. You can read about the conference here.

The title and abstract of my talk are as follows:

The diversity of the most common intestinal protists, Blastocystis and Dientamoeba, and their interactions with the microbiota: what role in health and disease?

The integration of DNA-methods in Clinical Microbiology has enabled a more detailed and accurate snapshot of the protists colonising and infecting our guts. Parasites like Blastocystis and Dientamoeba are much more common than previously known, when detection relied mainly on microscopy of faecal concentrates and smears only.
While Dientamoeba isolated from humans exhibits very little genetic variation across the small subunit ribosomal gene, Blastocystis displays a perplexing amount of genetic heterogeneity, and nine subtypes, which are arguably separate species, have been found in humans. Subtypes 1 to 4 account for about 95% of human Blastocystis carriage.
It is expected that over 1 billion people are colonised by Blastocystis, and based on DNA-based detection, prevalence figures of up to 100% have been reported in developing countries. Conversely, the prevalence of Blastocystis appears relatively low in e.g. the US, and it has been suggested that the low prevalence is indicative of the defaunation of indviduals adapting a Westernized life style.
In a developed country like Denmark, the prevalence of Blastocystis and Dientamoeba is highest in individuals without gastrointestinal, while the prevalence of these parasites is lower in patients with functional and organic bowel disease, suggesting that these parasites are in fact markers of gastrointestinal health.
This is also in part exemplified by recent independent data linking high gut microbiota diversity to the presence of these parasites. Certain bacterial populations appear to be linked to parasite carriage, and studies are emerging that try to look into the association between these parasites and the remaining gut microbiota.
Moreover, higher age appears to be linked to Blastocystis colonisation. Blastocystis is more common in older children and adults, while in younger children, Dientamoeba is much more common.
Whether these parasites are able to modulate gut microbiota structure and function remains unknown, and it also remains to be demonstrated whether certain microbiota communities and/or metabolites are required for successful establishment of these parasites. More research data on these topics will inform future advances in probiotics in particular and gut microbiota manipulation in general.

 Thanks for your time.