"A BES Grant helped me start a new project, and funded a research assistant for the summer."

Matthew Spencer Research Grant recipient

Parasite and Pathogen Ecology and Evolution

Parasite and Pathogen Ecology and Evolution


Secretaries: Jo Lello


  • Be a central forum for parasite and pathogen ecologists and evolutionary biologists to make and maintain contacts, exchange and discuss ideas and promote useful events. As a part of this aim the group will play a role in encouraging early career development.
  • Seek collectively to understand the causes of variation in parasite-host interactions with a focus on the ecological and evolutionary influences.
  • Form a coherent body of scientists who can act as a force to inform government policy on funding, conservation and health with respect to parasites and pathogens.
  • Our members consist of academic staff, research staff and students from around twenty UK institutions. The only requirement of membership is that you have an interest in some aspect of parasite ecology or evolution.
  • You can keep up to date with this group by joining our mailing list (which is archived as an RSS feed on our Facebook page). The list is used by the community to advertise events, post job information and make requests. We hope you will be excited to join us and be part of this growing community. You can sign up to our mailing list very easily by filling in your details at JISC

Current / Future Meetings

16 – 18 April
BSP Spring meeting symposium: Disease Ecology Sessions
Location: BT Convention Centre, Liverpool  

We will be holding our annual social event on the first night of the BSP Spring Meeting. Come and join us at Salt Dog Slim’s on Thursday 16th April, from 7pm to late. Free bar snacks and drinks, to those arriving early.

For more details, see here

21st-24th September
Transmission Research Retreat
Gregynog Hall, Mid-Wales

This research retreat has a fairly unique structure. It will bring together a relatively small group of established researchers (55 max – post-doc level and above) for open, but focused, discussion and debate on topics within the broad remit of Parasite / Pathogen Tranmission; with the ultimate aim of forming subgroups who will produce grant proposals and journal articles within the chosen topic areas. Proposed Topics thus far include (but are not limited to): modes of transmission, the role of coinfection in disease transmission, transmission within multi-host communities, and environmental and societal impacts on transmission.

The retreat will begin with two plenary presentations from Janis Antonovics and Joanne Webster,who will seek to summarise and challenge our thinking in the subject area and who will act as facilitators for the early stage open whole group discussion that will follow these presentations. This preliminary debate will be the starting point for the process of focusing the discussion toward the more specific topics to be taken forward in smaller groups. Periodically these sub-groups will report back to the wider group of attendees and there is opportunity to shift between groups as topics evolve.

We held a similar and highly successful retreat in 2012 on the topic “Ecology Meets Medicine”, from which a number of papers and at least one grant proposal were submitted. We hope for similar outcomes from this event. Notably attendees at the earlier meeting cited “time to think” and “a stimulating environment for deep discussion” as two of the key benefits.

The meeting will take place at the beautiful Gregynog Hall, tucked away from distraction in mid-Wales. The cost for the event is all inclusive, barring travel, with a particularly special conference dinner including wine, in the middle of the event.

The first 40 Early Bird Regsitrants will receive a substantial discount of £120 OFF the regisration fee.
For further details / to obtain an early bird code please contact Joanne Lello.

12 – 13 November
Early Career developmental retreat: ‘The future of disease ecology’
Location: ZSL, London

Over the course of this 2 day event Early Career Researchers should develop a strong toolkit to go ahead and make their mark on the future of disease ecology research, backed up by a network of peers and links to leaders within the field.
Event overview
Participants are invited to submit a brief abstract ahead of the event. We will then open on the first day with short talks from each of our participants, introducing their work and research interests. Our invited experts will share general feedback on these abstracts and presentations, making this an ideal opportunity to “try out” abstract submission and get some practise in ahead of conferences.

Prof. Sarah Reece and Dr. Kayla King, both leaders within disease ecology will then present their experiences and career so far, and where they see disease ecology heading in the near (and distant) future. This will open into an opportunity for the group to share and discuss their own ideas on the future of the field and where they fit in it, hopefully developing into potential future research questions.

The second day will be a project management workshop, giving essential skills for running your own research projects at any career stage.

Invited speakers
Prof. Sarah Reece
Prof. Reece is a Royal Society University Research fellow, leading a group working on parasite ecology and evolution at the University of Edinburgh. Sarah focuses in particular on malaria parasites, and applications of their evolutionary ecology into medical and veterinary practise.

Dr. Kayla King
Dr. King’s work at Christ Church College, University of Oxford centers on characterising co-evolutionary relationships in animal-parasite systems, through theoretical, genetic and laboratory techniques. Her research has covered a range of parasite systems exploring fundamental questions of interspecies relationships and their evolutionary basis.

Registration is now open!

 13 – 16 December
BES Annual Meeting – disease ecology session and cross-SIG networking event, joint with the ‘Computational Ecology’ SIG.
Locaton: EICC, Edinburgh


Jo Lello (Cardiff University)
Andy Fenton (University of Liverpool)
Jo Cable (Cardiff University)
Jon Bielby (Zoological Society of London)
Giuseppe Paladini (University of Stirling)
Beth Levick – Post-graduate Rep (University of Liverpool)
Xavier Harrison (Zoological Society of London)
Ken Wilson (University of Lancaster)

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