Again this year Parasites & Vectors, in collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, the Odile Bain Memorial Prize to two outstanding young scientists in the fields of medicine and veterinary parasitology.
Dr. Goylette Chami (left) and Dr. Barbora Pafčo (right).
In memory of Odile Bain, an exceptional and inspiring scientist, the Odile Bain Memorial Prize (OBMP), now in its eighth year, recognizes young scientists who have made significant contributions in the field of medical and veterinary parasitology. The award has become a prestigious recognition in this area and this year the Evaluation Committee, chaired by Professor Domenico Otranto, received a very large number of excellent nominations.
“The focus of Odile’s work,” said Professor Otranto at the award ceremony at the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP) conference, “was the study of the evolution, systematics and biology of filaroids of veterinary and medical importance, and the Relationship of these worms to other groups of nematodes. These studies led Odile to explore many aspects of the biology of vectors responsible for the transmission of these parasites and the interaction with the vertebrate host. Her research has had a major impact on current knowledge of filariae disease, chemotherapy, immunology, and many other aspects of parasitology. Hence, this award was created to recognize her outstanding contributions to medical and veterinary parasitology and for her work in promoting productive collaboration among biologists, veterinarians, physicians, and fundamental and applied parasitologists around the world. “
Goylette’s work contributed to the study of mass drug administration (MDA) through groundbreaking network graphics assessing MDA and neglected tropical diseases, with an additional focus on the effects of key social determinants of persistent infection on marginalized individuals.
This year’s winners are Dr. Goylette Chami, Infectious Disease Epidemiologist at Big Data Institute (BDI) and Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU) at University of Oxford, UK, and Dr Czech Academy of Sciences and Veterinary University in Brno, Czech Republic.
“I am honored and humbled to receive the Odile Bain Memorial Prize,” said Dr. Goylette Chami. “It’s really a vote of confidence as I’m at the start of my own research group on schistosomiasis. Odile Bain is an inspiring parasitologist whose work paves the way for the latest methodological developments in filariae research, particularly through the use of cutting edge technologies. I take great inspiration from their approach in my own career by combining methodological development with empirical discovery to test assumptions about existing practice and knowledge. “
The OBMP recognized the excellent work of Dr. Chami, for making a significant contribution to mass drug administration (MDA) research through groundbreaking network graphics for assessing MDA and neglected tropical diseases. In addition, Goylette’s studies on the main social determinants of persistent schistosomiasis and hookworm infection were particularly valued for their effects on marginalized individuals.
During her postgraduate studies, Dr. Chami met people from the Ugandan Ministry of Health and went on many excursions in eastern Uganda around Lake Victoria. The direct interaction with study communities inspires and informs their research directly. Her research interests are in improving the treatment of parasitic worms in sub-Saharan Africa.
Barbora’s merits refer to his significant contribution to the field of strongyle nematodes, which infect sympatric primates (e.g. western lowland gorillas, central chimpanzees) and humans in the Central African Republic.
“My research program focuses on large cohorts of human participants in East Africa. I’ve spent years developing new approaches to improving mass drug delivery for neglected tropical diseases. My long-term goals now are to better understand the individual variation in schistosome transmission and the associated morbidities. I hope to help develop control and treatment strategies that are tailored to individuals and communities and integrated with local health systems. “
The merits of Dr. Barbora Pafčo as an outstanding young scientist lies in the significant contributions in the field of strongyle nematodes, which infect sympatric primates (e.g. western lowland gorillas, central chimpanzees) and humans in the Central African Republic.
“I am really honored to receive the Odile Bain Memorial Prize. For me it is proof of the quality of my work, ”said Dr. Pafčo. “Sometimes it is difficult to evaluate your own work and sometimes even to find its purpose which every researcher will experience at some point. Winning the Odile Bain Memorial Prize gives me new energy for further research. I would like to start my own team that will focus on the diversity, distribution and coevolution of nematodes with host species. “
Dr. Pafčo is interested in the ecology of parasites, the host-parasite relationship and the molecular diversity of pathogens. Her work focuses on the study of strongyle nematodes and recently highlighted the factors leading to gastritis from parasitic nematodes in mountain gorillas. She has also examined the diversity and distribution of strongyle nematodes in cattle in the Czech Republic and the global distribution of nematodes of the genus Necator with implications for the potential for drug resistance or zoonotic risk. The approaches used in Barbora’s research combine classical and experimental parasitology.
The nominations for the Odile Bain Memorial Prize 2022 are already open. Please visit the Awards website for the criteria and instructions on how to submit nominations.