Invited Speakers

Professor L.David Sibley

L.David Sibley is the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Molecular Microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine. In 2017, he has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors that can be awarded to a U.S. scientist or engineer.

David’s research has focused on understanding the cellular microbiology of parasites, especially Toxoplasma gondii. He has made major contributions to the field of parasite biology in describing how T. gondii invades cells and what factors determine how severe the infection is. That work also has served as a model for understanding related parasitic infections, including malaria. His lab also is developing ways to study cryptosporidium infection, a major cause of pediatric diarrheal disease in developing parts of the world.

Davis joined the Washington University faculty in 1991. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College in 1978, and a doctorate in zoology and physiology from Louisiana State University in 1985. He completed his postdoctoral training at the U.S. Public Health Service’s National Hansen’s Disease Center and Stanford University School of Medicine. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and has been recognized for his research with the Burroughs-Wellcome Award in Molecular Parasitology and the Alice and C.C. Wang Award in Molecular Parasitology.

Professor Carol Sibley

Prof Carol Hopkins Sibley is the Scientific Director of WWARN, the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network. She has played a significant role in the history of WWARN, campaigning for over five years to bring the concept of the Network to reality. Based in the USA, she has carried out research for over 30 years at the University of Washington, where she is a Professor of Genome Sciences. Carol has focused her recent research on malaria drug resistance, collaborating closely with KEMRI/Wellcome Trust in Nairobi and Kilifi, Kenya. In 2006, Carol was appointed Affiliate Professor at the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, Seattle, WA, and in 2008 became a Visiting Professor of Tropical Medicine in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, Oxford University.

Dr Ronald Kaminksy

Dr Ronald Kaminsky is an independent consultant specialising in drug discovery and parasitology. He has an MSc in Biology from the University of Cologne and a PhD in agricultural sciences from the University of Göttingen. He was Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Center of Parasitology, University of Massachussetts, Amherst before spending six years at ILRAD in Nairobi, Kenya, as leader of a project in chemotherapy of pathogenic trypanosomes. Between 1992 and 1999, Dr Kaminsky was Senior Scientist at the Swiss Tropical Institute, Basel (chemotherapy of infectious protozoa and drug resistance projects) and between 1999 and 2014 worked for Novartis Animal Health, St. Aubin, Switzerland, the last eight years as Head of Parasitology. He is author or co-author of more than 100 peer reviewed scientific papers and about 20 reviews.


Christopher Cleveland

Christopher is a Research Professional with the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA, USA. His research interests cover a broad range of pathogens of importance to wildlife, domestic animal, and human health. Currently, Christopher is pursuing his PhD focusing on the life cycles of Dracunculus nematodes in North America and in Africa. His work blends experimental infections, natural cycle investigations, and molecular analyses to aid in further understanding this group of parasites in wildlife and to inform eradication efforts focused on D. medinensis, the African Guinea Worm, a well known parasite of humans.

Professor Jacqui Matthews

Professor Jacqui Matthews, a qualified veterinarian, has worked in livestock and equine helminth research and education for > 25 years. Her group works on parasitic nematodes and their research spans sub-unit vaccine development, anthelmintic resistance and epidemiology. She has published > 125 peer-reviewed research papers and written numerous lay articles, as well as given many presentations to industry, stakeholder and scientific audiences. She has won over £13 million in external funding, with highlight outputs being discovery of a sub-unit vaccine for control of Teladorsagia circumcincta and development of a diagnostic test for detection of cyathostomins in horses. She currently leads the PARAGONE consortium, an EU-funded research programme focussed on livestock parasite vaccines ( Jacqui has taught/examined at most UK veterinary schools and holds a Ministerial appointment as Parasitology Expert on the UK Veterinary Products Committee. She is currently based at Moredun Research Institute, Edinburgh, and is Honorary Professor in Veterinary Clinical Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Barry Hosking

Barry is the Director of Global Product Development for Ruminant Parasiticides & Aqua with Elanco Animal Health. He has a PhD from Ghent University (Belgium) and a Masters in Project Management from the University of Adelaide.His career, spanning 40 years, has focused on the treatment and control of parasites infecting food animals. Prior to joining Ciba-Geigy (later Novartis (1996); now Elanco (2015)) in 1995, Barry worked as a Scientific Officer for AgResearch New Zealand. After joining Ciba, Barry completed the development of CLiK (blowflies) in New Zealand before moving to Australia in 1998 where his initial position was managing farm animal technical services. He launched CLiK and Acatak (cattle ticks) in 1998, and moved to product development in 2001. He has led numerous development projects that have resulted in commercialized products including CLiK Plus (blowflies and lice), Acatak Duostar (cattle ticks and roundworms), Flukeject (liver fluke), Fasimec (roundworms and liver fluke), Fasinex 240 (liver fluke), CLiKZiN (blowflies) and more recently Imvixa (sea lice), CLiK Extra (blowflies) and Zolvix Plus (roundworms). In 2004, he was responsible for leading the Zolvix project in ANZ and had an additional role as Global Technical Services Manager for Zolvix from 2004-2007. Barry has 143 publications of which 52 are in peer-reviewed journals. He is a reviewer for numerous international veterinary and veterinary parasitology journals. He is currently a Vice-President of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP).


Dr Andreas Latz

Dr Andreas Latz  has worked at NovaTec Immundiagnostica GmbH since 2010. He is Project Leader of the genetic engineering department; principal investigator of antigen development and veterinary ELISA and Lineblot development; group leader of human diagnostic development. He was educated at the University of Würzburg (Dipl. Biol. Univ magna cum laude 2002, PhD 2007) and was Post-Doc and Group-Leader at the University  of Tübingen, Department of Microbiology, 2007-10.  His three principal research interests are One health: development of diagnostic tools for the application in the human as well as veterinary field; diagnostic tools for Zoonotic diseases; and diagnostics on tropical diseases with an special emphasis on parasites and worms.


Abstract of talk

Every year, many publications in scientific journals are focusing on the discovery of biomarkers and the development and evaluation of diagnostic tools. Only very few of these innovations ever reach the market and are accessible to the end users. There is a gap in applying that knowledge into products to reduce the burdens of illness and disability. This discrepancy between scientific innovation and commercial product is mostly due to the fundamental challenge of applying research and development advances into operations.

In this talk, I will discuss strategies on how to bridge this valley of death in order to overcome barriers to more effectively translate research findings into health care practice.

It is crucial that a translational cooperation between scientific institutions and the industry is established right at the beginning of a new development. This may start with a joint application for funding and has to be intensively continued during the development and commercialization process. Even after launching a product into market, the continuation of the cooperation will be essential for the commercial success of the diagnostic product.

During the initial stages of research and development, many points have to be considered; like the assessment that a discovery has commercial value or an important impact on the health care industry. After choosing the appropriate platform for a new diagnostic tool, many different points; like product design, usability, reproducibility, precision, stability, constant evaluation, quality control, quality management or risk assessment have to be addressed.

For the period of the validation/verification process, interferences, cross reactivity, clinical evidence, sample material (serum/plasma/liquor/milk/urine etc…), sample population and statistical significance or high dose hook effect have to be considered.

Dr Stephanie Godfrey

Stephanie’s research interests revolve around the question of how animal behaviour influences the ecology of host-parasite interactions. Much of her work has employed the use of social networks to describe the contact patterns between hosts in wildlife populations, and understanding the consequences of this for the transmission of parasites. She completed her PhD in 2010 under the supervision of Prof Mike Bull at Flinders University, which focused on the ecology of the host-parasite interactions of the tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) – a reptile that lives in New Zealand, and has its own suite of host-specific parasites. This sparked an interest in both how conservation management impacts the ecology of host-parasite interactions, and conserving unique parasites as a part of the ecological system we are trying to conserve! These interests developed further during a DECRA fellowship which started in 2012 with Prof Andy Thompson at Murdoch University that focused on the host-parasite ecology of the woylie (Bettongia penicillata) – a critically endangered marsupial that has undergone recent population declines where a trypanosome parasite is believed to be involved. Being one of the most frequently translocated species in Australia, raises the question of how this form of conservation management impacts host-parasite communities, and a current Linkage project with the Department of Parks and Wildlife currently explores this question, and its consequences for both hosts and their parasites. Now based in the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago (New Zealand), Stephanie hopes to expand this research theme to understanding how conservation management impacts the behaviour and contact patterns of native species and the ecology of host-parasite communities in the unique NZ fauna!

A/Prof Abdul Jabbar

Dr Abdul Jabbar is an Associate Professor in Veterinary Parasitology at The University of Melbourne, Australia. Following his graduation as a veterinarian, Dr Jabbar completed his PhD in Veterinary Parasitology from The University of Melbourne and worked on host-parasite interaction of taeniid cestodes. Currently, his main research interests include molecular epidemiology and diagnosis of parasites of socioeconomic importance, and drug discovery against parasites. To date, he has secured AUD 2 million in research funding and published 117 peer-reviewed papers in international journals in the chosen disciplines of Parasitology/Infectious Diseases/Genetics. In addition, he has given 50 conference presentations at national and international scientific meetings.

Since 2007, Dr Jabbar is an active member of the Australian Society for Parasitology (ASP) and has served as the Victorian State represnetative for the Socirty from 2013 to 2016. In this role, Dr Jabbar undertook public outreach and school educational activities to promote veterinary parasitology. Recently, based on outreach activities conducted at secondary schools in Australia, Dr Jabbar co-authored a ‘Science and Society’ manuscript for Trends in Parasitology. Currently, Dr Jabbar maintains the ASP Facebook page which is currently liked by almost 2,500 people around the world.

Dr Peter Rolls

Peter Rolls is currently Principal Veterinary Officer at Tick Fever Centre, and has been at Tick Fever Centre for over 10 years.  Responsibilities include general animal health and welfare related to vaccine production, diagnosis of tick fever, and applied research activities aimed at ensuring that the vaccine is safe and effective.  Prior to that he was in private veterinary practice for 10 years, and on clinical teaching staff at University of Queensland’s Pastoral Veterinary Centre in Goondiwindi for 18 years.

Dr Norbert Mencke

Norbert Mencke DVM graduated from the Veterinary School in Hannover, Germany. His doctoral thesis conducted at the Institute for Parasitology, Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (M. Rommel) in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture Adelaide, Australia (P. O’Donoghue) was on species differentiation of Sarcocystis. He holds a veterinary specialization degree in parasitology (Fachtierarzt für Parasitologie) and is a Diplomat of the European Veterinary Parasitology College (EVPC).

Norbert is currently Head of Policies & Stakeholder Affairs at Bayer Animal Health. He has previously held various positions in the animal health industry. His research, which has focused on insecticidal/acaricidal and anthelmintic compounds, led to the discovery of the anthelmintic class of cyclodepsipeptides, specifically Emodepside which is marketed as Profender®. He worked on the combination of imidacloprid plus permethrin (Advantix®) and founded the CVBD (Companion Vector-Borne Diseases) World Forum, an annual scientific meeting since 2006.

Norbert lectures in parasitology at the Veterinary School Hannover (Institute for Parasitology). He is a member of the German Society for Parasitology (DGP) and Germany Veterinary Society, Parasitology (DVG-Para), the Australian Society for Parasitology (ASP), the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists (AAVP), and the American Heartworm Society (AHS). He has been invited to speak at numerous national and international scientific meetings and has published more than 80 papers in peer-reviewed veterinary parasitology journals.

Professor Ala Tabor

Ala Tabor joined QAAFI’s Centre for Animal Science in October 2010, after 18 years of conducting research with the Queensland Government. She is a research focussed academic with a strong background in industry engagement associated with animal health. Her research interests are associated with the application of genomic sequence data to improve animal disease management through: 1) the development of molecular diagnostic and genotyping methods to better identify pathogens; and 2) the study of gene function in relation to virulence and host pathogenicity of infectious diseases, to develop new effective vaccines. Areas studied to date include bovine reproductive diseases (in particular bovine genital campylobacteriosis), Australian paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus), cattle tick (Rhipicephalus microplus species complex), and tick-borne diseases (babesiosis and anaplasmosis). Some key outputs of her work include the application of reverse vaccinology for the development of a novel cattle tick vaccine (patents pending) and commercialized diagnostic tools for bovine reproductive diseases. Prof Tabor has attained $7.9 million in competitive grants in the last 10 years including the ARC, pharma and industry. Current research includes paralysis tick vaccines/treatments, cattle tick vaccine trials, bioinformatics/genomics of ticks and bovine venereal Campylobacter spp., tick fever genotyping/detection, and diagnostic assay development for bovine genital campylobacteriosis. Her international recognition in her field is exemplified by the invitation to join the BMGF International Cattle Tick Vaccine Consortium (CATVAC, est. 2015), specialist tick editor for the International Journal for Parasitology, and the Chair of the organising committee for the 9th International Tick and Tick-borne Pathogen (TTP9) conference to be held for the first time in Australia in 2017. Her research vision is to translate her research outcomes into viable products and methods for the benefit of cattle producers and pet owners.

Dr Christian Epe

Since 2016 Christian has lead the research in Parasitology at Merial (now part of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health) in Duluth/Atlanta, USA.

He studied Veterinary Medicine in Hannover, Germany, graduating in 1990. This was followed by postgraduate study in Parasitology and a postdoc position in Helminthology department  at Hannover’s Institute of Parasitology. Between 1993 and 2007, Christian’s research activities covered around 125 studies and raised funds of about € 1.8 million. He was promoted to Akademischer Oberrat (similar to Assoc. Professor.)

Between 2007-2011, Chrsitian was Head of Companion Animal Parasiticides at Novartis Animal Health in St. Aubin, Switzerland and  was Head Lead Finding at  Novartis Institutes of BioMedical Research in Cambridge, MA. Between 2014 and 2016, he held the position as Head of Parasitology at Novartis Animal Health and later Elanco Animal Health in Basel, Switzerland.

Christian is a founding member of ESCCAP (European Specialist Counsel Companion Animal Parasites) and became de facto member of the European Veterinary Parasitology College (EVPC) in 2003 with reaccreditation in 2008 & 2013.