The fascinating world of parasites

The subject, Medical Microbiology: Parasitology (MIIM30017), will be offered to our Bachelor of Biomedicine (and BSc) students in Semester Two for the first time.

Parasites are animals or plants which live on or in another plant or animal to survive. The infections they cause, can be responsible for disease and death in humans and animals worldwide, and major losses to global food production.

Parasitology is a branch of microbiology that studies parasites. It focuses on the characteristics of the parasite, its form, life-cycle, ecology; the type of host they infect and the relationship between them.

Students will find out about medically-important parasites in this subject, how they interact with their hosts and cause disease - and how these infections impact on human health and populations globally. Protists (unicellular eukaryotes), helminths (worms) and arthropods (including insects) will all be looked at in this enthralling subject.

The subject will be delivered by a team of experts from the School of Biomedical Sciences and Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, as well as internationally renowned parasitologists and global health researchers.

Associate Professor Karena Waller, the Principal Coordinator of the subject, who spent 15 years involved in local and international malaria research, says, “Parasites are truly fascinating - they often have complex life cycles with multiple life stages, and cause some of our most poorly understood diseases. This exciting new subject is purposefully designed to integrate lectures with hands on practical application in the laboratory and in class active learning opportunities, including expert discussion panels.”


For Bachelor of Biomedicine students:

  • BIOM20001 Molecular and Cellular Biomedicine

Students are strongly encouraged to complete their full second year study plan before enrolling in this subject.

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Associate Professor Karena Waller

Today, Karena contributes significantly to the teaching and learning of microbiology and immunology to second and third year Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Biomedicine students.

In February 2020, Karena will take up a secondment in the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education (MCSHE) where she will consult in and contribute to University-wide innovation in teaching and learning, peer review of teaching, and creation of professional development programs/activities for teaching-focussed academic staff. Concurrently, Karena will maintain her roles within the School of Biomedical Sciences and Faculty, via ongoing teaching and learning activities in Microbiology, and as Deputy Program Director, Bachelor of Biomedicine.