The Odile Bain Memorial Prize (OBMP) recognizes early career scientists who have made significant contributions to the medical and veterinary parasitology fields, in memory of Odile Bain, an exceptional and inspiring female scientist.
Since 2014, 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. Odile’s primary expertise was the systematics of filariae, vectors and transmission of filariae, models of filariasis, and the Litomosoides sigmodontis murine model.
The winner of the 2022 edition of the OBMP is Jairo Alfonso Mendoza Roldan, a Colombian scientist working as a research fellow in parasitology and parasitic diseases at the Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari, Italy. Jairo has a MSc and a PhD in Experimental Epidemiology Applied to Zoonoses from the university of São Paulo, Brazil, and is a European Veterinary Parasitology College Resident. He is working mainly with the role of synanthropic reptiles as reservoirs of zoonotic parasitic diseases.
“From what I heard from the people who had the chance to work with her”, Jairo told us, “Odile Bain was so supportive and kind with all her colleagues, especially young researchers coming from the most diverse backgrounds. Therefore, for me as a Colombian parasitologist, I am greatly honored and it still feels like a dream to receive the OBMP. I would like to dedicate this prize to my family that always supported me to purse my passion for research in parasitology”.
Jairo’s passion for ectothermic animals, from their management to their medicine, allowed him to investigate a fascinating yet scarcely scientific area thus working on many parasites of reptiles of zoonotic concern. In particular, his studies on the role of reptiles on the biology of zoonotic vector-borne agents (e.g., Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. and Rickettsia spp.) have been considered of particular scientific interest and they focus on a group of animals that is not widely studied. Importantly, the molecular and serological confirmation of the exposure/infection by Leishmania tarentolae in dogs and humans, and the molecular identification of Leishmania infantum in Mediterranean reptiles have been recognized for their impact on the scientific community.
“I feel committed to continue working and studying parasitic diseases”, Jairo continues, “that have a high burden in our society, such as leishmaniases, and I hope to have the opportunity to support other young scientists especially from low-income countries”.
The crosstalk of Jairo’s studies opened up new avenues in the research on canine and human leishmanioses, and provided fresh perspectives on the epidemiology, the diagnosis, treatment of, and vaccination strategies against, this major zoonotic infection.
The nominations for the 2023 Odile Bain Memorial Prize are now open. Please visit the Prize website for the criteria and instructions on how to submit nominations.