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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Cinzia Cantacessi

Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Parasitologycinzia cantacessi

I completed my degree in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Bari (Italy) in 2006. Since my third year at the university, and specifically since I followed a Veterinary Parasitology course, I knew I wanted a career in Parasitology. In 2007, I moved to Melbourne (Australia), where I completed a PhD in Molecular Parasitology at The University of Melbourne. My project largely involved the application of next-generation sequencing technologies and bioinformatics to studies of the fundamental biology of parasites of human and veterinary health concern, with the ultimate aim to identify novel targets for treatment and control. I became increasingly passionate about research in this area and, following the completion of my PhD in 2011, I was awarded an Early Career Fellowship from the National Health and Research Council of Australia to continue my work at the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine in Cairns. During my time in Cairns, I investigated a range of host - parasite interactions (focussing particularly on human hookworms) using a variety of nucleic acid sequencing and computational techniques. I was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Parasitology at the Department of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Cambridge at the end of 2013, with both research and teaching duties.

Over the course of the years, I have been extremely fortunate to develop an extensive network of collaborators(some becoming really close friends)


My current research interests include (i)the exploration of the interactions between gastrointestinal parasites, their human and/or animal hosts and the host commensal flora (i.e. the intestinal microbiota) and(ii) fundamental studies of the biology of vector -borne parasites of companion animals (with a particular focus on canine and feline lungworms).

Over the course of my career, I have been an author or co-author of >70 peer-reviewed articles and 3 book chapters.

Having relocated to Cambridge relatively recently, I am now focussed on establishing and developing a research group in this Department, as well as on developing a successful teaching strategy.Over the course of the years, I have been extremely fortunate to develop an extensive network of collaborators (some becoming really close friends as well) across the continents, including parasitologists, veterinarians, physicians, molecular and structural biologists and bioinformaticians, and that I consider the most rewarding aspect of my job.

One tip my previous mentors have shared with me and that I found very useful is to choose carefully the conferences to attend. Over the course of my career, I found that the “smallest” conferences (i.e. those with a limited number of delegates) are usually the most rewarding, as they allow me to fully exploit the ultimate purpose of a scientific meeting, i.e. networking!

Outside of work, my husband (also a parasitologist) and I love travelling, food and movies. We also own (or are rather ‘owned by’) two Labrador Retrievers, among the best travelled dogs having already moved across three states and two continents!