Assistant Professor, Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health
BSc - Invertebrate Animal Biology
PhD - Evolutionary Immunology
Immunobiology of invertebrate intermediate hosts
Dr. Patrick Hanington received both his BSc and PhD from the University of Alberta. His BSc had a focus on Invertebrate Animal Biology; it was during this time that he developed an interest in parasites and immunology. That interest led Patrick to a PhD in Evolutionary Immunology where he worked on understanding the developmental processes that guide immune cell development in fish. After completing his PhD, he began a post-doctoral position at the Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology at the University of New Mexico. During Patrick’s postdoctoral fellowship, he began working on the immunological factors that dictate compatibility between snails and digenetic trematodes; specifically the tropical snails that are responsible for transmitting schistosomiasis. He continues to research this system in his lab at the U of A, where he and his group are interested in advancing their understanding of this important host-parasite association with the objective of complementing existing schistosomiasis control efforts.
Dr. Hanington joined the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta in 2011. Some of the specific projects that are ongoing in his lab are:
- Characterization of snail immune factors that influence the outcome of trematode challenge.
- Evolutionary and functional assessment of fibrinogen-related proteins (FREPs) as a family of unique immune molecules that are restricted to, and conserved within Mollusca.
- Characterization of trematode-specific factors that these parasites employ to modulate and suppress the snail immune response in order to initiate and establish infection within the intermediate host.
- Assessment of the snails and trematodes found in Alberta that are responsible for causing swimmer’s itch, and the development of risk management approaches to minimize swimmer’s itch occurrances.
- Development and validation of molecular detection tests for water-borne and water-based protozoan and helminth parasites relevant to Alberta.