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Parasitic Helminths & Allergy

When:

Thu 11 May 2017, 6:00pm–7:00pm

Where: Lower Hutt War Memorial Library, Cnr Queens Drive and Woburn Road, Lower Hutt, Wellington Region

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: HuttCityLibraries

Jodie Chandler, Research Officer, Allergy and Parasitic Diseases Programme, Malaghan Institute of Medical Research.

Scientist Jodie Chandler will discuss how the destructive human hookworm found in developing countries, may be the key to reducing symptoms of allergies and asthma conditions in first-world countries like New Zealand.

This free talk is part of the Hutt STEMM Festival (6-21 May).
For more information visit library.huttcity.govt.nz.

Hookworm affects one billion people worldwide. It is a leading cause of anaemia in developing countries. Infection is currently controlled through the frequent use of drugs in school-age children, however, high rates of re-infection occur soon after treatment and there is evidence of emerging drug resistance.

The mechanisms by which these organisms subdue the immune system have been studied at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research (MIMR) for many years because of their potential to dampen harmful inflammatory immune responses, such as those made in asthma and allergy. MIMR believe that creating a vaccine for hookworm is a lasting way to prevent re-infection and break the cycle of disease.

They are also interested in the parasite's interaction with the immune system because once communities are able to control the parasite, the incidence of allergies to harmless environmental allergens gradually rises.

Bio - Jodie Chandler:
I have always been fascinated by what makes people unique from each other and how this can be attributed to nature vs nurture. This interest ultimately led me to the University of Otago where I completed my Bachelor of Science (BScHon) in Genetics with first class honours. During my honours year, I had my first proper taste of working in a research laboratory, and I loved it. It was really important to me to be in a career that I felt was benefiting others, this was another reason why research appealed to me.

I now work in my hometown of Wellington at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research as a Research Officer in the Immune Cell Biology Group. I work on understanding the genetic signals that control the fate of immune responses in the context of allergy, with the hope that this knowledge will one day be applied to clinical treatments, and improved patient outcomes.