The Department of Parasitology conducts research into parasitic diseases of public health importance with the overall goal of reducing their transmission and the heavy disease burden that they impose on affected populations. The Department maintains focus on parasitic diseases in general. These include major diseases such as malaria, and others listed under the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) control initiative such as, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis, trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis. Also, research is undertaken into parasite implicated diseases in reproductive health (e.g., toxoplasmosis) and diarrhoeal diseases (e.g., cryptosporidiosis and amoebiasis). The Parasitology Department maintains strong collaboration with other departments to strengthen research into disease conditions with possible parasitic involvement such as asthma and related allergies and the transmission of Buruli ulcer. In pursuing the research objectives, the Department emphasizes research into emerging and re-emerging parasitic diseases, vector studies, control of viral hemorrhagic fever, and development of advanced diagnostic capability in Parasitology.
Research in the department is conducted by staff including Research Fellows, Research Assistants, Technicians, Postgraduate Students and Visiting Researchers from institutions around the world. Efforts are being made to expand the staff base to include more PhD holders, post-docs and expert scientists.
Expertise and techniques available in the department include morpho-taxonomy, cyto-taxonomy, immune-diagnosis, proteomics, gene cloning, sequencing, bioinformatics, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), development and use of Information Education Communication (IEC) as well as Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) in the control of parasitic diseases.
Research Divisions within the Department
Research in the Parasitology Department is organized in five major research areas under five specialized units for:
1. Improved diagnostics,
2. Molecular parasitology,
3. Parasite immunology,
4. Medical entomology
5. Applied parasitology.