Research course

Veterinary Parasitology

University of Liverpool · Faculty of Veterinary Science

Entry requirements

For full entry requirement details, please see the course page on the University website.

Months of entry


Course content

Parasitology encompasses the biology, transmission, immunology, epidemiology and control of parasites of veterinary and medical importance. We study a range of parasitic diseases including zoonoses, as well as ticks and the diseases they transmit.

Liverpool's leading international reputation in infection research, tropical medicine and global health stretches back over 150 years.

The University of Liverpool’s Institute of Infection and Global Health was established to bring together leading medical, veterinary and basic science researchers from across the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. It also complements other strengths in Liverpool, including the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicine, the Medicines for Children Research Network, and the Wellcome Trust Tropical Centre with its associated PhD programme.

We also enjoy close and active collaboration with NHS colleagues through the Liverpool Health Partners Academic Health Science System.

Our research interests

We particularly welcome research proposals that match those of our researchers, including:

  • The diagnosis, epidemiology and control of Fasciola hepatica (liver fluke), a trematode parasite and a major cause of production losses in sheep and cattle, and an emerging and serious zoonosis in some developing countries
  • Anthelmintic resistance in liver fluke and gastrointestinal parasites of livestock, including mapping of drug resistance genes using genomic technology and population genetic studies
  • Tick-pathogen interactions at the cellular and molecular level, including co-infections with pathogenic and symbiotic bacteria and viruses
  • Fundamental studies of the immune response to ruminant parasite infection
  • Use of deep sequencing (genomics/transcriptomics) to examine disease mechanisms in unicellular, vector-borne parasites (Trypanosoma, Leishmania, Apicomplexa)
  • Applying state-of-the-art imaging techniques to understand interactions between apicomplexan parasites, the intestinal epithelium, and the host immune system in 3D tissue culture models of livestock.

Research themes

Veterinary Parasitology research is based on two sites, the IC2 building on the main city campus and the Leahurst campus on the Wirral, 20 minutes away. Parasitic diseases are of major importance to the health and welfare of animals throughout the world. As relatively large and sophisticated pathogens, parasites present particularly intriguing and difficult challenges; many are also zoonotic, transmitted between animals and humans, affecting the health of both. We have a large, well-funded research team working on the temperate liver fluke parasite, Fasciola hepatica, the abortifacient protozoans Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii, and the cyathostomins (the most significant group of gastro-intestinal nematodes affecting horses).

Another group conducts research into vector-borne parasites such as African trypanosomes and those causing malaria, focusing on the identification of virulence factors in both laboratory and natural populations. The IC2 building houses the Tick Cell Biobank, the world’s largest collection of cell lines derived from ticks and other ectoparasitic arthropods, which underpins research on many aspects of ticks and the pathogens that they transmit to livestock and humans. We have also developed advanced bovine and porcine 3D tissue culture models to study host-pathogen interactions at the intestinal epithelium, with particular emphasis on apicomplexan parasites.

Finally, we are using detailed epitope mapping to reveal potential vaccine candidates and changes in T-cell populations during chronic helminth infection.

Our underlying philosophy is to apply modern genomic, proteomic, imaging and modelling techniques to address important problems of practical relevance. We are particularly interested in anthelmintic resistance, vaccine development and improved control through better management of disease.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MPhil/PhD
    part time
    48-72 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    24-48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

PG Recruitment