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Where have all the parasitologists gone?

Tim Ruhnke truhnke at esu.edu
Tue Dec 13 15:44:46 EST 1994

: At the suggestion of John Janovy, I'd like to start a discussion on 
: the training or lack of training in traditional parasitology by many 
: of our current graduate students.  It is obvious that in order to 
: obtain funding from many federal and private sources, current and 
: future researchers must have knowledge of as well as "how to" skills 
: in immunoparasitology and molecular biology.  But, I wonder, if the 
: emphasis on these skills is producing future parasitologists who 
: cannot discover, diagnose or identify parasites (of any sort). Are we 
: sacrificing these traditional skills in order to increase 
: grantsmanship?  How many of us (major professors) are requiring our 
: students to learn traditional skills as well as the newer 
: biotechnology skills.  We, for example, will have a major turnover in 
: faculty in our Department of Parasitology over the next 3 years.  We 
: will need a person to teach Veterinary Parasitology and to interact 
: with veterinarians in the Teaching Hospital (preferably someone with 
: a DVM and PhD), we will need a person with fundable research skills, 
: preferably a person with a background in veterinary parasitology but 
: who also has skills in immunoparasitology/molecular parasitology, and 
: thirdly, a person with administrative skills who has similar 
: attributes.  Who is teaching students with these attributes?
: Katherine Prestwood
: email prestwood.a at calc.vet.uga.edu   

Dr. Prestwood,
  we have 3 of them here at East Stoudsburg Univ.  henry fremount works 
on plasmodium biology, jane huffman works on various agents of wildlife 
disease, and i am concerning myself currently with cestode systematics/ 
host-parasite co-evolution.  those people are out there with the skills 
you've listed, but might be younger and not a 'sure bet' for continuous 
comptetitive funding that major universities look for.  they go to work 
in the private biotech field.  i am more concerned with placing people in 
the academic field with parasitological skills GENERALLY.  for example, 
we need people at every institution, that may have varied academic 
interests, but who all share a common love of parasitic animals.  they 
might be able to teach a variety of courses.  i am about to apply to a 
school that is advertising for someone to direct undergraduate research, 
and teach parasitology, invertebrate zoology, vertebrate zoology and 
entomology.  my interests require me to know something about all of these 
subjects, and i can definitely do 3 of them.  i love animals, and have 
interests in ecology, evolution and systematics, and i love student 
interaction.  i would work at georgia/athens, or any other 
university/college that is intrigued by my abilities and interests.
  with the 'downsizing' of acadmia writ large, perhaps the generalists 
among us will have a leg up on the rest.
tim ruhnke
asst. prof.
east stroudsburg university of penn.

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