This past summer, University of Manitoba undergraduate student Parisa Selseleh was awarded the ICAN WISE Scholarship. Because of this scholarship she was able to work with her mentor Dr. Jillian Detwiller, of the Department of Biology. Her research focussed on the genetics and phylogenic analysis of freshwater parasites. During the summer she collected freshwater snails, muskrats and birds, analyzed the DNA of their parasites, and used the DNA sequences to see how the parasites from each species were related to one another.
Her analysis will contribute to the effort to stop the decline of amphibian populations, because parasitic infections are likely a significant part of this decline. Her analysis will help to identify which parasites are most likely to impact amphibian populations and perhaps find a treatment based on genetic variation.
She presented her results at the 46th annual meeting of the Rocky Mountain Conference of Parasitologists at the University of Nebraska Cedar Point Biological Station in Ogallala, Nebraska. Her poster won the best undergraduate student poster award.