NPLK15000U Basic Parasitology

Volume 2016/2017

MSc Programme in Biology
MSc Programme in Biology-Biotechnology


The course gives an introduction to the biology of parasitism, and the interactions between parasites and their hosts. Focus is on fundamental concepts in parasitology, for example the definition of parasitism as a life form, adaptations to parasitism, host exploitation strategies, and fitness effects of parasitism on host individuals and populations. Those concepts will be supported by “hands-on” experimental work on host-parasite models in the laboratory in combination with research-based lectures. In addition, examples of the distribution and importance of parasites in wildlife populations will be provided, and the potential commercial applications of using parasite models will be explored and discussed.


Learning Outcome

The aim of the course is to provide students with a broad introduction to animal parasites and how they interact with their hosts. Students will gain practical experience working with experimental host-parasite models in the laboratory.



Define parasitism and describe adaptations to a parasitic lifestyle.

Describe the general biology of major groups of animal parasites.

Understand fundamental concepts related to the transmission and host exploitation strategies of parasites.

Understand the consequences of parasitism to animal populations.

Evaluate the potential use of parasite models in industrial applications.



Students will obtain basic skills in working with experimental host-parasite models, and they will learn to quantify and identify parasites from different systematic groups by use of a range of diagnostic tools.



Students will obtain knowledge on important concepts of parasitism and how to apply those to: 1) explain the distribution and impact of parasites of host populations in nature, and 2) examine novel ways to implement host-parasite models in industrial research.

Foundations of Parasitology, L. S. Roberts, J. Janovy, and S. Nadler, 9th edition, 2013.

Primary literature, Exercise notes, and power point presentations uploaded to Absalon.

A course in zoology at the bachelor level is required (competencies equivalent to e.g. Dyrs Livsformer og Funktion, Dyrs og Planters Diversitet, Diversity of the Organisms – Tree of Life).
The course provides a “hands on” approach to study fundamental parasite biology by the use of experimental host-parasite models. Learning methods include lectures introducing each concept followed by practical and theoretical exercises. Morphological adaptations to parasitism and variation in life-cycles will be presented. Factors affecting host and parasite fitness, and parasite distribution within and among hosts will be demonstrated experimentally, and their applications in real-life situations will be discussed. An excursion to Parasite Technologies will present an example of turning knowledge on fundamental parasite biology into the production of a medicinal product.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 2
  • Excursions
  • 8
  • Lectures
  • 30
  • Practical exercises
  • 30
  • Preparation
  • 126
  • Theory exercises
  • 10
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 minutes
Individual oral examination in topics from the textbook and/or other learning material posted on Absalon (including power point presentations and research articles). Thirty (30) min will be given for preparation.
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners
Criteria for exam assesment

Students will be evaluated on their demonstrated knowledge in the basic concepts of parasitism, including adaptations to a parasitic life style, general biology of major groups of parasites, parasite transmission and host exploitation strategies, consequences of parasites to host populations, and potential use of parasite models in research and industry. See Learning Outcome.