University of Calgary


The primary research interest of the Gilleard lab is in the area of drug resistance in livestock parasites. The Gilleard lab uses genetic and genomic approaches to investigate the genetic basis and molecular epidemiology of anthelmintic drug resistance. Its aim is to identify the mutations in the parasite genomes that lead to drug resistance and understand how they arise and spread in parasitic nematode populations. The outcomes of this work will be used to improve the diagnosis and inform the management of resistance as well improve the effectiveness and long term sustainability of parasite control. We are currently also beginning to apply similar approaches to soil-transmitted helminths (STH) of humans.  Link to Gilleard Lab

Role in the project

We are undertaking a number of molecular genetic approaches to investigate the extent to which anthelmintic resistance is emerging in human STHs in communities participating in mass drug administration programs. We are collaborating with the Starworms group to apply deep amplicon sequencing approaches, that we have previously developed for livestock parasites to scan human STHs populations for anthelmintic resistance conferring mutations. The focus is on benzimidazole (albendazole and mebendazole resistance).

Team members

   Russel Avramenko & Sinead O'Farrell        

Main publications linked to the project

  • Avramenko RW et al.,  2015. Exploring the Gastrointestinal "Nemabiome": Deep Amplicon Sequencing to Quantify the Species Composition of Parasitic Nematode Communities. PLoS One.  Dec 2;10(12):e0143559.

  • Chaudhry U et al., 2015. Genetic evidence for the spread of a benzimidazole resistance mutation across southern India from a single origin in the parasitic nematode Haemonchus contortus. International Journal for Parasitology, doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2015.04.007.

  • Redman E. et al., 2015. The Emergence of Resistance to the Benzimidazole Anthelmintics in Parasitic Nematodes of Livestock is Characterised by Multiple Independent Hard and Soft Selective Sweeps. PLoS NTD 2015 Feb; 9(2): e0003494.

  • Laing R et al., ,2013. The genome and transcriptome of Haemonchus contortus: a key model parasite for drug and vaccine discovery. Genome Biology, 2013 Aug 28;14(8):R88.

  • Saunders GI. et al., 2013. Characterization and comparative analysis of the complete Haemonchus contortus β-tubulin gene family and implications for benzimidazole resistance in strongylid nematodes. Int J Parasitol., May;43(6):465-75.


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Prof. John Gilleard

University of Calgary

Department of Comparative Biology and Experimental Medicine

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

Room HSC 2557,

3330, Hospital Drive,

University of Calgary,

Calgary, Alberta,

T2N 4N1


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