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Where have all the parasitologists gone?

Steve Meshnick meshnick at sph.umich.edu
Sun Dec 18 14:03:03 EST 1994

		 I've been thinking about the recent discussion on the fate of
parasitology.  Unfortunately, we will always have two disparate functions
- service and research.  Diagnostic/veterinary/medical parasitology is
quite important and there will be a need for general parasitology courses
until all parasites are eradicated (which will not occur for a while). 
On the other hand, research parasitologists have to be quite specialized.
 This is a result of two trends.  First, the volume of literature is such
that it is nearly impossible to make real contributions working more than
a couple of parasites.  Second, the NIH grant situation is such that one
needs to stay focused.
	   Which brings me to a corollary of the original question.  How can a
parasite-specific expert teach a good graduate-level course on general
parasitology?  I work on malaria and pneumocystis, and feel comfortable
teaching them (although the latter is a fungus and should really no
longer be taught by us!)  But it is hard for me to keep up on other
parasites.  A good course in modern parasitology can be taught in those
schools where there are a large number of parasitologists on the faculty
(i.e., Harvard or Case-Western), but what do you do when there are only
one or two?
	    Does anyone think it would be possible to use this newsgroup to help
with this?  For example, we could post syllabi,textbooks, and reading
lists for our courses.
Steve Meshnick
University of Michigan School of Public Health
email:  meshnic at umich.edu

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