PeerJ Awards Winner at BSP 2024

by | Apr 26, 2024 | Award Winner Interviews, Uncategorized

In April 2024, the British Society for Parasitology Spring Meeting came to Liverpool, a city that has long been a home to parasitology and to a vibrant community of researchers dedicated to combatting parasitic diseases in the UK and worldwide.

BSP 2024 brought around 500 people from the parasitological community together to discuss the latest findings in parasite biology and progress in controlling disease. The meeting reached across divides between parasite specialisms, since all the scientific sessions cut across taxonomy, between countries, as nearly half of invited speakers come from outside the UK, and between generations, as half of all speakers were early-career researchers. Scientific sessions spanned the parasitological spectrum. From discovering the basic principles of parasite biology (‘Antigenic variation’, ‘Evolutionary origins of parasitism’), including the latest trends in parasite research (‘Cellular heterogeneity’, ‘Subcellular structure’, ‘Population variation’, ‘Organoid infection models’, ‘Parasite-microbiome interactions’), to applied parasitology for controlling disease (‘Drug development’, ‘Disease elimination’, ‘Epidemiology’, ‘Veterinary vaccines’, ‘Vector control’).

The BSP Spring Meeting also renewed its association with the British Ecological Society, with two sessions on ‘Parasite wildlife ecology’ and ‘Complex ecology data analysis’. Besides our scientific sessions, BSP 2024 will featured genome database training workshops and a poster exhibition that, for the first time, included video abstracts.

Andrew P. Jackson, BSP 2024 Organizing Committee


Sirapat Nak-on (Max) PhD candidate at Srinakharinwirot University, Thailand. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your research interests?

I completed a B.Sc. degree in Biology and decided to study in a Ph.D. program in Biotechnology. My PhD research focuses on taxonomy of rumen flukes (paramphistomes) in cattle using morphological, morpho-histological, and DNA sequence analyses, and development of their detection tools based on loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) with colorimetry, lateral flow strip, and electrochemical sensor. Currently, I am a visiting postgraduate researcher at School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow and have developed a new LAMP detection assay for Dictyocaulus viviparus, the bovine lungworm. My research interests include veterinary parasitology, diagnostic biosensor application, and epidemiology.

What first interested you in this field of research?

How do parasites live? Why do they need a host in a life stage? They still exist and conceal their life with co-evolution beyond our ancestor of human history in the natural environment. A lot of unrealized questions about parasitology were stuck in my mind when I began learning and working on a senior scientific project. Then, I questioned again. Where to find them? I tried hard to find them in hosts, such as snails, chicken, and cattle, with expertized parasitologists in my lab group. I was very excited and enjoyed it when we found alive parasites and trial experiments afterward, that’s so cool! From basic to applied parasitology, I passionately learn how to apply the research to be useful for society. How can I apply my research findings to people? I got some suggestions from my advisor about parasite related issues that impact the local economy and livestock. Several veterinary problems from infectious parasites are a challenge to be diagnosed for subsequent healthcare and treatment. So, development of a detection tool could be a smart way to help animals and farmers to reduce risk from severe unhealthy disease and death of livestock by rapid and effective diagnosis.

Can you briefly explain the research you presented at BLS8?

The research entitled “Development of a LAMP Detection Assay for Dictyocaulus viviparus Lungworm” is well collaborated and supported by generous researchers in the worm lab group in Garscube campus, University of Glasgow. The bovine lungworm D. viviparus is highly pathogenic in cattle and the disease, dictyocaulosis or husk, outbreaks can be difficult to predict and manage. We designed a primer set to be used in an optimized LAMP condition. LAMP technique can amplify the DNA target to be sufficient for discrimination between positive (infected) and negative results, like PCR technique but thermal cycling is not required, because it can produce DNA amplicons in a constant temperature or isothermal. Our LAMP result was analyzed by various examinations, including gel electrophoresis, colorimetry, real-time, and lateral flow system. It showed sensitivity less than 1 ng of D. viviparus ITS2-DNA contained plasmid and can be improved by longer incubation. Lungworm detection using our LAMP could improve convenient, effective, and rapid detection in the field with higher performance than common parasitological methods based on microscopic examination for diagnosis of the disease.

For more information, please view my video abstract presentation below, or on YouTube (

Bovine lungworm L3 larvae


How will you continue to build on this research?

After completing my PhD, I plan to continue working in the field of novel biosensor development and innovation applying from basic knowledge as a modern parasitologist. There are a lot of new technologies that push our life and world to grow in various complicated ways but almost of them are aimed to improve us to be better living quality in a way, not only specific for scientific and academic fields but public. It is not easy to create new effective technology for serving a huge number of world populations. This looks like a big scenario for a scientist who begins their career path for a few years, but I think this dream can be possible to come true. As I focused on rumen fluke and lungworm, the epidemiological model for these parasites is different. I could apply my developed LAMP assays to detect the parasite in various locations in a suitable time section and prove some epidemiological principles. In the meantime, I can give some advice for farmers and agriculture related organizers to be aware of the harmful effects of infectious parasites, better healthcare, and prevention practices. In addition, the knowledge on how to develop a DNA biosensor using LAMP and its application can be based on further establishing a new diagnosis tool for other infectious diseases. In the future, I hope my research findings will be used to solve a problem somewhere in the world. That’s a very big challenge for the next chapter of my life!


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