• Class Number 2947
  • Term Code 3430
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Alexander Maier
    • Prof Alexander Maier
    • Dr Christina Spry
    • Prof Ian Cockburn
    • Prof Kevin Saliba
    • Dr Melanie Rug
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 19/02/2024
  • Class End Date 24/05/2024
  • Census Date 05/04/2024
  • Last Date to Enrol 26/02/2024
SELT Survey Results

Every 30 seconds someone is killed by a parasite. Parasites also cause damage to the livestock industry worth several billions of dollars each year. This course offers an overview of the biological and molecular bases of important parasitic diseases and an understanding of the enormous impact parasites have on endemic communities.

In this course we will take a broad and multi-disciplinary approach to the complex and dynamic relationships between parasites and their hosts. We aim to understand the problems we face when fighting parasitic diseases and to identify potential solutions. We will explore both unicellular parasites (protozoa) and multicellular parasites (mainly parasitic worms and ectoparasites). We will also investigate overarching themes like mechanisms that cause disease, transmission, diagnostics, drug development and intervention strategies.

The diverse and comprehensive lecture series is complemented by hands-on practicals that will emphasise particular aspects. These practicals will also provide insights into the current state of parasitological research and strategies that are employed to develop new drugs and diagnostics.


Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but are assessed separately

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Analyse key features of major parasitic diseases and evaluate their impact on human and animal health.
  2. Compare and evaluate different transmission strategies of various parasites.
  3. Compare and evaluate key factors that cause parasitic diseases (both from the parasite and host perspective).
  4. Organise parasites into their phylogenetic relationships and appraise their diversity.
  5. Understand key principles of diagnostic approaches and assess and critique different diagnostic tests.
  6. Assess and evaluate different treatment and intervention strategies.
  7. Identify, analyse and design experimental approaches, that lead to the creation of parasitological knowledge.
  8. Independently research a current topic in parasitology using published literature.

Research-Led Teaching

In addition to the investigation of individual parasites that cause diseases in humans and animals we will also look at general concepts that are important for combating parasitic diseases. General mechanisms of transmission, pathogenesis, diagnostics and drug development will not only be discussed in lectures, but also explored during the hands-on pracs. During the practical projects data will be generated and evaluated. Students must use experimental evidence to support conclusions and understand the evidence-based nature of science. In several pracs students will conduct genuine research with unknown outcomes. The course will provide students with an overview of the current "hot-topics" in parasitology and equip them with skills necessary to answer so far unknown questions in the field. Students will have opportunities to discuss case studies, problems and questions during the course.  

Required Resources

Students will require a lab coat and safety glasses and must wear covered shoes to all laboratory sessions. No print-outs of the lab manual will be provided and students are required to bring their own print outs - they are essential for participation in the laboratory sessions.

A lab notebook and marker pens will be required for the practical sessions.

Recommended reading:

"Parasitology - A Conceptual Approach" by Loker and Hofkin (Garland Science, 2nd edition 2023)

"Foundations of Parasitology" by Roberts and Janovy (McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 9th edition 2013)

"Protozoa and Human Disease" by Marc Wiser (Garland Science, 1st edition 2010)

Additional readings will be recommended during the course.

There are also free ebooks available on the course Wattle site.

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups and individuals.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Other Information

Further information on alternative assessment task (#2):

The intention of this task is to acknowledge the various interests and talents of the participants and to make the course content relevant to each person. It will provide an opportunity to deeply analyse a specific concept and present it in a form of the participant's choosing.

External lecturers:

Dr. Alex Gofton - email contact: Alexander.Gofton@csiro.au

Dr. David Jenkins - email contact: djjenkins@csu.edu.au

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to course and parasitology (Maier)Parasite diversity (Maier) Current Methods in Parasitology (workshop) (Maier/Rug)
2 Intracellular Protozoa - 1 (Maier)Intracellular Protozoa - 2 (Maier) Morphological Adaptations to Parasitism (Maier)
3 Transmission - 1 (Maier)Transmission - 2 (Maier) Potency of anti-parasitic drugs - 1 (Maier)
4 Kinetoplastida (Maier)Extracellular Protozoa (Maier) Potency of anti-parasitic drugs - 2 (Maier)
5 Diagnostics - 1 (Saliba)Diagnostics - 2 (Saliba) Diagnosis of parasitic diseases (Saliba)
6 Pathobiology - 1 (Parasites) (Maier)Anti-parasitic Drugs (Spry) PUBLIC HOLIDAY (Good Friday)
7 Ectoparasites - 1 (Gofton)Ectoparasites - 2 (Gofton) Ectoparasite prac (Maier)
8 Trematodes-1 (Rug)Trematodes-2 (Rug) VR Workshop (Maier)
9 Pathobiology - 2 (Host) (Cockburn)Pathobiology - 3 (Host) (Cockburn) Intervention Strategies/Vaccines - (Cockburn)
10 Intervention Strategies - 2 (Maier)Impact of Parasites (Maier) Parasitic Helminths - 1 (Rug/Maier)
11 Nematodes - 1 (Maier)Nematodes - 2 (Maier) Parasitic Helminths - 2 (Jenkins, Rug, Maier)
12 Cestodes - 1 (Jenkins)Cestodes - 2 (Jenkins) no prac

Tutorial Registration

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Pre-practical Quiz 10 % 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Online Quizzes 40 % 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Final Quiz 30 % 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Research Report 20 % 1, 2, 3, 6, 8

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines , which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Integrity Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Practicals: There are ten practical classes. Attendance at these is highly recommended, since the lectures and practicals are interlinked. Students are expected to submit their own results for the practical analyses except where specified on the wattle page and must obtain the prior consent of their Demonstrator if they wish to use results of others. 


Students should consult the course wattle site and the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Pre-practical Quiz

Pre-practical online quiz (requires reading of prac manual and preparation for laboratory practical)

has to be submitted before the practical

(5 x 2% of final mark)

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Online Quizzes

Online quizzes related to the content of the lectures and practical of each particular lecture block; will include analyses of the prac results

Quiz is open for a 28h period, but once started it has to be completed in 40 min

Due date (indicative - please check wattle page for final date): ~ fortnightly

(5 x 8% of final mark)

ALTERNATIVE assessment task (can be used to substitute ONE of the online quizzes (the higher mark will count towards the final grade)):

"Parasitology got Talent" - Submission of a piece of creative work that incorporates a parasitological concept including a short outline explaining how the work relates to the concept and a self-reflection.

(1x 8%)

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Final Quiz

Online quiz related to the content of the whole course; might include analyses of the prac results and cross-references between different lecture blocks/topics

Quiz is open for a 3h period, but once started it has to be completed in the allocated time.

(1 x 30%)

Assessment Task 4

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 6, 8

Research Report

Individual research report

due date (indicative - please check wattle page for final date): WED 1.5.24 (1 x 20%)

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

No submission of assessment tasks without a prior extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

Marked and commented assignments will normally be returned in electronic form one week from submission.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

No resubmission is permitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Prof Alexander Maier

Research Interests

Prof Alexander Maier

By Appointment
Prof Alexander Maier

Research Interests

Prof Alexander Maier

By Appointment
Dr Christina Spry

Research Interests

Dr Christina Spry

Prof Ian Cockburn
6125 4619

Research Interests

Prof Ian Cockburn

Prof Kevin Saliba
6125 7549

Research Interests

Prof Kevin Saliba

Dr Melanie Rug
6125 7649

Research Interests

Dr Melanie Rug


Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions