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Detecting Schistisome Infection in Biomphalaria and Bulinus Snails

School of Life Sciences

About the Project

Schistosomiasis (bilharzia) is a neglected tropical disease that affects some 252 million people worldwide. It is caused by parasitic flatworms of the genus Schistosoma and is contracted through human contact with contaminated water. Identification of Schistosome infection is determined through the identification of eggs in the stool or urine of patients. However, since the parasite uses a freshwater snail of the genera Biomphalaria or Bulinus as an intermediate host, surveying populations of snails for Schistosome infection is a very useful alternative method of determining the incidence of Schistosome infection. The project will use PCR-based infection detection techniques to determine the incidence of Schistosome infection within local snail populations. It will determine which species of snails are infected with human Schistosome parasites and which are most susceptible to infection. It will also examine the incidence of non-human parasites in snail populations that have the potential to mislead surveys of Schistosome infection in snails. Genetic variation in snail populations will also be examined to examine the link between snail resistance and Schistosome infection.

The University of Nottingham is one of the world’s most respected research-intensive universities, ranked 8th in the UK for research power (REF 2014). Students studying in the School of Life Sciences will have the opportunity to thrive in a vibrant, multidisciplinary environment, with expert supervision from leaders in their field, state-of-the-art facilities and strong links with industry. Students are closely monitored in terms of their personal and professional progression throughout their study period and are assigned academic mentors in addition to their supervisory team. The School provides structured training as a fundamental part of postgraduate personal development and our training programme enables students to develop skills across the four domains of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF). During their studies, students will also have the opportunity to attend and present at conferences around the world. The School puts strong emphasis on the promotion of postgraduate research with a 2-day annual PhD research symposium attended by all students, plus academic staff and invited speakers.

Funding Notes

Home applicants should contact the supervisor to determine the current funding status for this project. EU applicants should visit the Graduate School webpages for information on specific EU scholarships View Website. International applicants should visit our International Research Scholarships page for information regarding fees and funding at the University View Website.


Standley, C.J., Goodacre, S. L., Wade, C. M. & Stothard, J. R. 2014. The population genetic structure of Biomphalaria in Lake Victoria, East Africa: Implications for Schistosome transmission. Parasites and Vectors 7: 524.

Standley, C. J., Wade, C. M. & Stothard, J. R. 2011. A fresh insight into transmission of Schistosomiasis: a misleading tale of Biomphalaria in Lake Victoria. PLoS ONE 6 (10) e26563. [IF=3.534] [contribution 40% - first author is my PhD student (principal supervisor)]

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