The Centre for Applied Entomology and Parasitology was formed in 1992. Its creation was driven by Professor Chris Arme as head of the School of Biological Sciences and president of the British Society of Parasitology (Professor Arme, now emeritus, is the founding editor of the journal Parasites and Vectors.) The centre was established, and continues to this day, as an interdisciplinary research centre offering a lively and stimulating atmosphere for advanced research, training and collaboration. CAEP was first headed by Professor Peter Ham and researchers were integrated into four major themes: Medical and Veterinary Vector Biology, Insect Immunology and Pathology, Applied Insect Ecology and Fish Parasitology and Immunology.
Early days - Left Peter Ham, 1st CAEP director (1992-1996) with Hilary Hurd who was to play that role from 1996 to 2007, and other members of his research group in 1993.
Professor Hilary Hurd took over the directorship of CAEP from 1996 and continued in this role until 2007. During this period CAEP became a very cohesive group, enjoying a successful weekly seminar programme and occasional social events. Collaborative projects were initiated and consolidated in all areas, and national and international links expanded. These included studies on European bees and western thrips (W. Kirk) and projects on mosquito/Plasmodium interactions in collaboration with partners in East Africa (H. Hurd). Research programmes were established to investigate the vectors of visceral leishmaniasis in North East Brazil and in Sudan (R Ward, R. Maingon and G. Hamilton) and collaborations established with aquaculture facilities in Asia and Eastern Europe to tackle research on fish disease and immunity (D. Hoole).
Right - Hilary Hurd on the hunt for mosquito samples in a Tanzanian village in East Africa
The rationale for CAEP had always been underpinned by the needs of new generations of students, whose enthusiasm for the disciplines of Parasitology and Vector Biology was ignited through undergraduate modules focusing on Parasitology and through a Postgraduate MSc course in Molecular Parasitology and Vector Biology.
In 2007 Professor Richard Ward took over the leadership of CAEP, shortly after its incorporation as a research theme within the recently established Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine. Richard remained as head of CAEP until April 2010. Within the UK, links were forged with the Institute of Animal Health in Pirbright and their studies on sheep blue tongue virus susceptibility. To provide undergraduate and postgraduate students in parasitology and medical entomology with access to field experience in the Tropics as part of their courses, an exchange programme was put in place between the School of Life Sciences and the University Sains in Penang, Malaysia.
Left - Richard Ward collecting sand flies from a disused termite mount in Western Brazil
Since its inception, CAEP has seen the arrival of further experts in diverse areas, including mosquito transgenesis, molecular biology of Leishmania and trypanosomes, genetics and epigenetics of Plasmodium falciparum, cerebral malaria, insect chemical ecology and insect olfaction. Over 25 years of existence, the centre has produced more than 700 peer-reviewed publications in the fields of parasitology and applied entomology and has made significant impacts in our understanding and control of vector-borne parasitic diseases, agricultural insect pests and parasitic fish diseases. CAEP scientists have extensive international research links which continue to grow and contribute to its global impact in research, research training and capacity building.
CAEP's current director is Professor Frederic Tripet, who can be contacted here.