What is Parasitology?

Parasitology is the study of parasitic organisms and hosts, including their relationships and interactions


The MIMG Parasitology Group 

Our interdisciplinary group includes researchers studying the biology and pathogenic mechanisms of parasitic protozoa and helminths, which cause an array of human and animal diseases.  

  • In some cases, parasites are used as model systems to investigate basic biological problems.  

  • In others, the emphasis is on host-parasite interactions and the parasite as a disease-causing entity.  

Our research groups use a broad range of systems biology, molecular biology, structural biology, genetic, and bioinformatic approaches to understand parasite biology and host-parasite interaction. 


The parasitology group includes the research groups of MIMG faculty members Peter Bradley, David Campbell, Elissa Hallem, Kent Hill, and Patricia Johnson, as well as emeritus professors Dan Ray and Larry Simpson.   

Research interests of the group include:  

  • An unusual RNA modification phenomenon known as “RNA editing” 

  • Organelle biogenesis, drug resistance and host parasite interactions in trichomonads  

  • Gene expression and RNA maturation in trypanosomes 

  • Host cell invasion, parasite replication, and host-pathogen interaction in apicomplexans  

  • Host-parasite interaction, cilium signaling and motility mechanisms in trypanosomes 

  • Neurobiology of host seeking and infectivity in parasitic nematodes  


The group trains undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows in molecular parasitology, host-pathogen interaction, cell biology, structural biology, and infectious disease.   

Graduate students in the group are typically members of the Immunity, Microbes, and Molecular Pathogenesis (IMMP) Home Area, although other home areas participate as well. They take courses that provide a foundational background of molecular and cellular biology (254A-C) and also take specialized classes in immunology (M261) and microbial pathogenesis (254C).  

Individual laboratories within the parasitology group are highly interactive and all members participate in monthly parasitology meetings in which students and postdoctoral fellows present their work to the entire group. These monthly meetings include research groups from other local institutions, including Harvey Mudd College and Cal State Fullerton.  

Members also regularly attend the UCLA MBI and I3T seminar series, as well as the Microbial Pathogenesis Seminar Series, hosted by the Microbial Pathogenesis Training Grant. 

Affiliated Faculty

Affiliated Emeritus Faculty