Introduction to Medical Parasitology


After this unit, students should be able to:
1. Define the discipline of Medical Parasitology and describe the importance of parasites in human health.
2. Describe the main groups of parasites and indicate their taxonomic classification.
3. Use correctly appropriately terms and concepts in parasitology.
4. Communicate scientific results in a correct scientific way.
5. Suggest examples of how molecular biology has been used in studies of parasitology.
6. List the most important computing resources in parasitology.
7. Interpret a phylogenetic tree correctly and evaluate the methods used.
8. Explain how the discipline of molecular epidemiology has contributed to the knowledge and control of parasitic diseases.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Isabel Maurício


Weekly - 2

Total - 14

Teaching language



Not applicable


Gordon C. Cook ed. (2003) Manson’s Tropical Diseases. 21st ed. Elsevier Science. London.
• Schmidt and Roberts. Foundations of Parasitology, McGrawHill.
• Alberts, B., Bray, D., Lewis, J., Raff, M., Roberts, K. and Watson, J. D. eds. (1994) Molecular biology of the cell. 3rd edition. Garland, NY.
• Scientific writing and publishing results. Tropical Biology Association, UK. 14pg
• Cantacessi, C., Campbell, B.E., Jex, A.R., Young, N.D., Hall, R.S., Ranganathan, S., Gasser, R.B. (2012) Bioinformatics meets parasitology. Parasite Immunol. 34(5):26575.
• Yang, Z., Rannala, B. (2012) Molecular phylogenetics: principles and practice. Nat Rev Genet. 13(5):30314. • Li, WH (1997) Molecular Evolution. Sinauer.
• Lee Riley. Ed (2004) Molecular Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases. Principles and Practices. ASM Press.
• Carrington and Hoelzel. Ed. (2001) Molecular Epidemiology – practical approach. Oxford University Press.

Teaching method

This CU is organised in 4 lectures and 3 theoretical/practical sessions. Lecture handouts and formative assessment are available in the platform Moodle.

Evaluation method

Student assessment will be based on the following elements:
• The grade from a written exam
• The exam will be graded between 0 and 20. Students with less than a grade 10 will not pass the CU.
• If a student does not obtain a pass or wants to improve their grade, they will have to take another exam.

Subject matter

I. Parasitology and its importance in medicine.
II. The main groups of parasites.
III. Terminology and basic concepts in Parasitology. Parasite-host relationships.
IV. Basic principles of molecular biology as applied to parasitology.
V. Introduction to scientific communication.
VI. Bioinformatics resources in parasitology.
VII. Basic principles of phylogenetic.
VIII. Introduction to molecular epidemiology.


Programs where the course is taught: