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Suggestion for labs

Gerald L. McLaughlin, Ph.D gmclaugh at INDYVAX.IUPUI.EDU
Thu Mar 20 09:36:46 EST 1997

For undergraduate parasitology, we used to run single or dual infections of
T. musculi/P. berghei in mice and Nippostrongilus/Hymenolepis in rats; we
included charcoal/Vermiculite fecal culture with the nematode, and beetles
for growth of cysticercoids for the cestode.  None of these infect humans,
so they're safe.  Typically, we used stained blood smears from tail snips,
and sacrificed dissected animals analyzed at time intervals, to generate
data.  There was usually a variable like experimental groups with and
without quinine/tonic water for malaria, and different inocula sizes, to
illustrate principles like drug screening or niches.  Pathologies (e.g.
spleen/liver sizes) and parasite burdens (weight and number of worms, eggs;
parasitemias of tryps or malaria through time) were among the data collected
and written up for a report.  

These experiments required a lot of animals, and I'm not sure they would be
justified these days except perhaps as a demonstration.  They did give
experience handling animals, writing "papers with real data"; and these
models were easy to maintain.  

There are few in-print manuals for lab parasitology; you may have to develop
your own handouts for your chosen experiments/principles.  For general
undergrad texts in parasitology, I like Schmidt and Roberts, Marquardt and
Demaree, and Beaver and Young.  Molecular parasitology texts tend to be
either collections of review papers or lab manuals that look like baby
Maniatis's, so again you may have to develop handouts for the principles and
experiments you want to emphasize.  Good luck!

>I'm in the process of developing a parasitology course for 
>undergraduate biology majors.  Eventually, I want to include
>a laboratory to supplement the lectures.  Part of the lab would
>include identifying all the little critters under the microscope,
>but I also wanted to include some experiments that could be
>conducted in the 15-week period and that aren't going to infect
>any careless students.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  
>The more specific the better.  Thanks.
>Oh yeah, one more thing.  Since text book publishers have been
>merging, it's getting harder and harder to find a good
>parasitology text.  Anyone know any good texts that are still
>being published?
Gerald McLaughlin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Dept of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
1120 South Drive, Fesler Hall 404
Indianapolis, IN  46202-5113
Ph:  Office 317-274-7594; Lab 7315/7594/1264

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