Parasites inspire public

In June 2012 the Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. won an Inspiring Australia grant to run a series of free public events “Parasites in Power” to explore the world of parasites.

Our ASP-Inspiring Australia “Parasites in Power” and National Science Week events will be a highlight in 2014 with flags along Commonwealth Avenue bridge, public exhibitions, presentations, movies and children ‘s workshops taking place across Canberra in June, July and August.Find out what is happening in Canberra in 2014

“Who poohed in my food” hands-on DNA extraction workshop was run in June 2013 at CONASTA 62 Australian science teachers association conference in Melbourne. This workshop is part of “Parasites in Power” “toolbox” of workshop ideas and resources. Science teachers and scientists who would like to run this workshop please email for resources and contacts.

The ASP held joint ”Inspiring Australia” public events in Perth with our partners Perth Zoo, Scitech and Murdoch University in August 2013 with a focus on veterinary parasites.

“Parasites in Focus” featured on Saturday 24th August 2013 at Perth Zoo and gave zoo patrons a chance to experience an adventure through the fascinating world of parasites with activities suitable for everyone to enjoy, and an opportunity to get “under the skin” of Australia ‘s parasitologists.

“Parasites and Pets, Parasites and You – What do you really think you know?” our free public event for the whole family Sunday, 25th August, 5-6 pm, Perth Convention Exhibition Centre, Riverside Theatre. Can parasites really burrow through your skin or be a cure for gut diseases? Professors Andrew Thompson, Malcolm Jones and Susan Little entertained the audience with some lively talk about parasites and a quiz while the children joined our “Young parasites science club” free, fun, supervised science activities for young scientists during the presentation. You can watch the quiz in two parts by clicking on each video link below.

“Profs, Pints and Parasites. Friends Without Benefits.” Tuesday 27th August, at Aviary Rooftop Bar cnr William St & Murray St Mall from 6-8pm. From evolution and environment to why you need to “watch your orifices” with new threats on the block – parasites play a far more important (and horrifying) role in the world than you have ever imagined”¦Follow the twitter feed #profsandpints Cost: Free entry.

ASP-Inspiring Australia Hangout On Air: Parasitologists in the Spotlight. View the first of our ASP – Inspiring Australia “Parasitologists in the Spotlight” Hangout On Air Series from December 2013.

“Parasite Encounters in the Wild” our first event took place on 2nd July 2012 and featured presentations and activities based around parasites and wildlife, with a guest appearance of a Tasmanian Devil. Our presenters were Professor Greg Woods, Menzies Institute Tasmania, Professor Andrew Thompson, Murdoch University, Professor Ian Beveridge, The University of Melbourne and Androo Kelly, Trowunna Wildlife Park (who joined us with Tasmanian devil) You can watch this event in four parts by clicking on each video link below.

Our first FREE event “Parasite Encounters in the Wild” took place Monday 2nd July 2012, Country Club Tasmania, Prospect Vale, from 545pm. As well as fascinating talks and an appearance by a Tasmanian Devil from Trowunna Wildlife Park there were be fun, supervised, science activities for children available during the presentation. Download a flyer.

This project is one of 63 Unlocking Australia ‘s Potential science communication grants announced 12 June 2012 by the Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans.

“Parasites are barometers for the health of any ecosystem and public knowledge about them, and the scientists who research and combat parasitic disease, can only be beneficial,” said Professor Nick Smith (James Cook University) who is convenor of the ASP Network for Parasitology.

“Parasites are a part of everyone ‘s life; they infect our pets, the meat and crops we eat, and us. They also infect our iconic marsupial wildlife and the fish in our unique oceans and reefs, sometimes with devastating consequences,” Prof Smith said.

“Parasites are a fascinating and very popular science topic. There is a gross-out factor that both repels and intrigues people to want to know more,” Lisa Jones, communications coordinator for the ASP Network for Parasitology said. “We have public events planned across Australia suitable for children, teens and adults. We want to enable audiences to get “under the skin” of Australia ‘s parasitologists, and the best way we have found to do this is by engaging scientists, communicators and the general public in discussions about, and activities that describe, the lifecycle of parasites and how parasites fit in with their individual lives.” she said.

This Inspiring Australia initiative is supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education in partnership with the Australian Society for Parasitology Inc.

About the Unlocking Australia ‘s Potential grants

A total of $5 million has been awarded across the country.

The prime objective of the grants program is to increase the engagement of Australians in science and it has prioritised projects that engage people who may not have had previous access to or interest in science-communication activities. Inspiring Australia is an initiative of the Australian Government.

For more information about the national progam and a complete list of grant recipients go online to

Download the media release 12 June 2012


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