Parasitology and Human Health

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This course is no longer being offered.

Course Description

Parasitism is one of the most successful life history strategies on the planet. Furthermore, parasites are predicted to compose over half of all known species on Earth. Despite every known animal and plant having at least one parasite, scientists have only begun to scrape the surface of knowing all there is to know about parasites. Students will learn to identify major groups of parasites, the ecology and evolution of parasites and how parasites can directly impact human health through disease.

The course will introduce students to the major groups of parasites including protozoans, trematodes, nematodes, cestodes, and arthropods. We will use examples of parasitized hosts from across the animal kingdom, including fish that have had their tongues replaced by a parasitic copepod, mice that are infected by ticks and vector diseases such as lyme, and crickets infected with nematode worms altering their behavior and forcing them to drown themselves. Themes of ecology and evolution will be incorporated throughout the course such that students will gain an understanding of how host-parasite relationships first develop and then, how those relationships are maintained over thousands or millions of years.

1. Knowledge of major groups of parasites and their hosts
2. Basic understanding of parasite life histories, ecology, and evolution
3. Skills in identifying major groups of parasites using microscopy
4. Be able to effectively communicate scientific knowledge to peers

Prerequisites: None


Course Information

  • Course Code: CEBI0920
  • Length: 1 week

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2019.

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