Globally around one billion people are infected by parasitic nematodes, and their impact on livestock can be devastating. For millennia, parasites and hosts have been locked in an evolutionary war, an arms race with ever changing goal posts. However, scientists are using modern technology to bring new weapons to the fore.

Here, Naturally Speaker James Burgon talks to Dr Collette Britton, a Reader in the Institute and Associate Academic at the School of Veterinary Medicine. Hear about her work on the front line of this fight as she helps to develop better vaccines against nematode infections and identify the molecular basis of drug resistance in these parasites. Also find out what motivated her to enlist in the first place.

(The BUG consortium mentioned in this podcast is a multi-institute project “Building Upon the Genome” of Haemonchus contortus, a major nematode parasite of livestock. Find out more in its very own blog post written by postdoctoral researcher Roz Laing)


Live Caenorhabditis elegans, a free living soil nematode used as a model to study the group more generally. While benign itself, this easy to study organism is helping researchers like Collette identify new ways of combating its more belligerent relatives. Here they have been modified so their nerve cells produce green fluorescent protein. Heiti Paves [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Episode 28 – At war with worms: an interview with nematode parasitologist Collette Britton

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Crawling C. elegans. Bob Goldstein [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Intro and outro music sampled from: “The Curtain Rises” and “Early RiserKevin MacLeod [CC BY 3.0]

Posted by The Naturally Speaking Editors

A science pod-yssey and regular blog-yssey from the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine at the University of Glasgow

One Comment

  1. […] posts on organisms from wide-ranging wandering Albatross, highly social elephants, and parasitising nematodes! On a broader scale, we’ve explored the role of biological clocks in ecology, fire dynamics […]



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