Now at its 6th edition, the Prize honours the late Odile Bain’s commitment to medical and veterinary parasitology and the spirit of collaboration she fostered among biologists, veterinarians, physicians, and fundamental and applied parasitologists around the world.

The prize was awarded during the 27th Conference of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP 2019) in Madison, Wisconsin (USA). This year, the winners are Vito Colella, University of Melbourne, Australia, and Amanda Duarte Barbosa, Murdoch University, Australia, in recognition of their contribution to veterinary and medical parasitology as early career scientists.

Dr Barbosa’s merits have been recognised for expanding knowledge on the relevance, host-range, biogeography, genetic diversity and taxonomy of vector-borne protozoan pathogens in Australian native mammals.

Odile Bain was a great supporter of early career parasitologists, and the Prize is designed to reflect this support. The Prize is awarded in association with Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health and Parasites & Vectors and is presented to early career scientists at an international conference each year.

“It was really a great pleasure to have the Odile Bain Memorial Prize award ceremony delivered during the WAAVP conference”, said Domenico Otranto, Professor of Parasitology and Parasitic Diseases at the University of Bari, Italy, President of the WAAVP and Advisory Board Member of Parasites & Vectors. “The large audience of scientists attending from all over the world allowed giving the deserved recognition to two young scientists, Amanda and Vito. The memory of Odile Bain has been therefore perpetuated also on this occasion through the enthusiasm of young researchers who declared to be inspired by her work. Also, I am confident this recognition would act as a springboard for their careers and promote their works in their future endeavours. Overall, this was the original intention of the prize.”

Dr Colella’s achievements were acknowledged as Principal Investigator of a multicentre study on zoonotic and non-zoonotic parasitic infections of dogs and cats in 8 countries of East and Southeast Asia.

“It is a great honour to be one of the recipients of the OBMP 2019”, said Dr Colella, “this prize has been named after a pioneering scientist and an incredible woman whose activities inspire my current research and will continue to do so into the future”.

The University of Melbourne also gave coverage to Dr Colella’s achievements as Principal Investigator of a multicentre study on zoonotic and non-zoonotic parasitic infections of dogs and cats in 8 countries of East and Southeast Asia. Dr Colella and colleagues are now evaluating the effectiveness of a One Health intervention to reduce the transmission of soil-transmitted parasitic hookworms in people living in developing parts of the Asia-Pacific region.

“The Odile Bain Memorial Prize award ceremony delivered during the WAAVP conference was lovely indeed”, Dr Amanda Barbosa told us, “and one of the most amazing experiences I have had as an early career scientist”.

Dr Barbosa holding the OBMP trophy with Prof. Domenico Otranto (left); Dr Barbosa talking during the ceremony (centre); Dr Colella and Dr Lénaïg Halos, Boehringer Ingelheim (right).

Dr Barbosa’s merits have been recognised particularly in relation to the improvements made in the limited knowledge on the relevance, host-range, biogeography, genetic diversity and taxonomy of vector-borne protozoan pathogens in Australian native mammals.

As highlighted in the feature published by Murdoch University, Dr Barbosa said that the Prize gives her confidence to continue to follow her passion for research in this fascinating field. She hopes to see her research developed into practical resources to improve animal and human health.

The nominations for the 2020 Odile Bain Memorial Prize are now open. Please visit the Prize website for the criteria and instructions on how to submit nominations.