Monday, 14 October 2013

Emerging parasitic zoonoses in Estonia, and why the Northern Big Brother should be concerned

On Thursday, October 17th, Brian Lassen will hold a seminar at Evira Headquarters, Mustialankatu 3, Viikki, in Kalevi lecture hall, at 15.00-16.00, about EMERGING PARASITIC ZOONOSES IN ESTONIA, AND WHY THE NORTHERN BIG BROTHER SHOULD BE CONCERNED.

The talk will be on emerging, re-emerging and endemic parasitic zoonoses in Estonia, some of them well-known also in Finland, some with evident potential to spread into Finland.

Monday, 5 August 2013

First peek on the LOGOMO venue

Getting a bottom feeling of LOGOMO Business Class seats.
Heikki Henttonen, Pekka Niemelä and Larry Huldén testing alternatives.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Update from the local organising committee

Dear Colleagues,

After three years, EMOP XII will be past - hopefully leaving participants with unforgettable scientific discoveries, theories and understanding. And memories. After the Multicolloquium, it may be a good idea to brew the germinating thoughts at one of the Post EMOP Tours which the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) is planning in collaboration with Turku Touring. A natural, easy and tranquil choice is The Turku Archipelago, to visit some of the more than 20,000 islands of the, by some definitions, largest archipelago in the world, with possibilities to biking, fishing, canoeing, or just relaxing. There is a recent Lonely Planet article that may give an idea how it is like. Just a comment on the cinnamon "korvapuusti" buns; please, don't expect to find them on all breakfast tables. And, while it is true that Finland was the first country in the world to grant unrestricted voting rights to women in 1906, that was before Finland gained its independence from Russia; so the suffragette action had to be accepted by the Grand Duke of Finland, Russian Tsar Nicholas II. But, the Finns are still proud of the gender equality.

But the main thing, of course, is the Multicolloquium itself. As you may already be aware, the LOC put a poll on this this site (Choose your preferences of sessions/symposia/workshops at the EMOP XII). For some reason, this poll has not been functioning as it should; votes keep on dropping from file. We are very sorry for this, and strive to solve the problem, but it appears to be a general one for Blogspot. However, we have followed the votes consistently, and the top topics have almost always included (top ten):

Wildlife parasitology; Echinococci; Parasitism and global change; Parasite biology and ecology; Host-parasite interactions; Water- and food-borne zoonoses; Aquaculture and aquatic parasitology; Phylogeny of parasites; Parasite population dynamics; Parasite control in sustainable thinking.

The poll is not functioning properly and can not be corrected on the blog. As a result we will move the poll shortly to an external poll, but keep the results we have got. Meanwhile, we wish to cordially thank all the voters hitherto!

We are also very grateful for the excellent suggestions given by commentators. These will be taken into account when updating the poll:

Diphyllobothrium phylogeny and host range; Cestode taxonomy, especially of fresh water fishes; Parasites and pregnancy; Sarcocystis; Evolutionary Parasitology; Sensitivity and specificity of diagnostic tests; The concept of "strongyles" and "strongylids". These are all very natural additions to the poll. And then, "Philosophical aspects of parasitism" to wide our views!

Enjoy the summer! In Turku it is now (July 26th, 2013, at 11 am) 22 ºC, and the sky is clear. See you in Turku in three years,


Friday, 8 March 2013

Parasitological Institute in Turku 50 years anniversary

Åbo Akademi University Laboratory of Aquatic Pathobiology / Parasitological Institute in Turku 50 years.

The Parasitological Institute was founded by the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters (Societas Scientiarum Fennica) in 1963 as an independent research institute at Åbo Akademi University. In the 1980's the Institute was integrated with the Department of Biology, Åbo Akademi University. The Institute changed name in the 90's to the Laboratory of Aquatic Pathobiology in order to better describe the current activities.

In the beginning, the main goal was to use research-generated knowledge to help eradicate the broad tapeworm (Diphyllobotrium latum) from Finland. While as late as during the 50’s, the infection was rather common, the prevalence regionally reaching even 20 %, the disease is now rare, but not entirely eradicated. Studies showed that pike, burbot and perch, but not vendace, whitefish or salmon transferred the infection to humans.

Figure 1. Finnish Red Cross Diphyllobothrium latum combat poster from the 1950’s. Its text gives a clear warning with a rather unprecise description of the tapeworm life cycle.  

Especially in the 70’s and 80’s, the Laboratory research was mainly focused on zoonotic parasitic infections, but also on parasite-related fish diseases and parasite biology.
The activity has in recent years focused mainly on bacterial diseases in wild and farmed fish, and the research has produced internationally important results. Also, viral diseases in fish have been studied. Ongoing parasitological studies have dealt with the biology and systematics of ascaridoid nematodes, and recently also the myxozoan parasite Henneguya zschokkei in farmed and wild whitefish.

The Laboratory of Aquatic Pathobiology will continue to focus on the area of fish health. Its research primarily serves coastal communities, fish farming, various government agencies and the scientific community

On April 17th, 2013, the Laboratory will celebrate its first 50 years with a Seminar where, among others, Dr. Tom Wiklund will shortly present the 50-year history, Dr. Hans-Peter Fagerholm will speak about parasitological research at the Laboratory of Aquatic Pathobiology / Parasitological Institute, and Prof. Arne Skorping (University of Bergen) about parasitology yesterday, today and tomorrow. The Seminar language is mainly Swedish/Scandinavian. The Seminar will be finished with a banquet dinner.

Figure 1. Invitation to the 50-year seminar

[Right click and save image to computer to view]

Friday, 25 January 2013

Cheer up a Fellow Parasitologist!

Author: Antti Oksanen

Looking for some probably existing literature in the office, I happened to encounter an empty shoebox which I had used to collect reprint requests in. During the latest office move, I decided to be practical and discarded all reprint stacks of my own papers, as well as all the (several!) reprint request cards from often far-away-countries. Everything happens electronically nowadays, so no need to request reprints anymore. Reprint request cards were not for the Modern Scientist; already several years had elapsed since I received one.

But I remember just how I felt like to receive one. Somebody, somewhere, was interested in my work! And this person sent me a card, perhaps with a beautiful butterfly or mosquito stamp. I did not hurry to collect it from the mail tray before all colleagues had commented it. Put it in the shoebox and thought maybe after the next paper I need to get another box, perhaps a boot box. Then came the electronic full-text databases, such as ScienceDirect, which my institution started to subscribe. It gives an easy access to the publications in journals from this publisher, more reading than I might ever be able to digest. Open Access journals make it even easier. Still, there is a problem in achieving papers in journals from many publishers the institution does not subscribe. The library could order them, of course, but for a fee, which is often considerably high. Publishing is business, and the publisher of course needs the money, but does a 5-page paper really need to cost 35 €, or more?

Electronic Reprint Request (ERR) is the easy solution. Why not send an e-mail to the author and request an electronic Portable Document Format (.pdf) file of the interesting article? Publishers, at least some, permit the distribution of copies of published journal articles to research colleagues for their personal use
Below, please find a simple model of ERR:

Dear Colleague
Markus J Rantala,
I would greatly appreciate receiving a reprint (.pdf file) of your article entitled:
"Adiposity, compared with masculinity, serves as a more valid cue to immunocompetence in human mate choice"
Which appeared in:
Proc Biol Sci. 2013 Jan 22;280(1751):20122495. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.2495.
Thanking you in advance,
Antti Oksanen, Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, Research and Laboratory Department, Elektroniikkatie 3, FI-90590 Oulu, Finland Antti.Oksanen[at]

You can easily personalize your ERR by adding something about your own interest in the matter:
I’m not skinny but competent.
And you can add your favourite parasitological stamp:

Don’t make the error of not acquiring all the relevant literature needed in your own research. An abstract is almost always less than an entire article. ERR is a nice way to delight a Colleague and save money simultaneously.

Choose your preferences of sessions/symposia/workshops at the EMOP XII