Cuddly parasites are coming to Glasgow Science Festival

On Wednesday 11th June and Saturday 14th June (“World Knit in Public Day”), Crafty Critters is coming to Glasgow Science Festival, offering visitors the chance to try some parasite-themed crafts and to meet researchers working on a range of exotic diseases, from malaria to sleeping sickness.

Catarina is a PhD student in parasitology at the University of Glasgow. She took some time out to show Glasgow Science Festival’s Zara how to make her own Leishmania parasite, a disease carried by sandflies which affects about 12 million people worldwide.

Watch Zara attempt some critter-themed crafts in the video and read more from Catarina below.



Catarina showing off her parasite friends

Who are you and what do you do?

Hi I’m Cat, and I’m a PhD student at WTCMP (The Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology) at the University of Glasgow.

What brings you to Glasgow Science Festival this year?

Crafty Critters – I hope you have heard of this! It is a project running throughout 2014 to create the greatest crafted parasite infestation in the world!

We are coming to the Glasgow Science Festival (who have been involved in the project from the beginning) to ask you to help us making feltie and crochet parasites for our infestation. Our plan is to display them in October, and then send the parasites worldwide as teaching aid materials.

With the Commonwealth Games just around the corner, Glasgow is gearing up to welcome the world. What’s your top tip for visitors?

Enjoy the games if you are attending any of the sport events, and take a time to visit Glasgow’s most iconic places and museums, like the Kelvingrove museum, Science Centre, Transport museum, People’s Palace, and all the gardens.

Favourite Scottish food and drink?

I’m a fan of fish, so I really love Cullen Skink. Unfortunately I don’t like beer, so I cannot suggest any in particular.

Impress us with your favourite science fact. Or joke.

I read recently that sleeping sickness might be the cause of why large animals only exist in certain regions of Africa today: during human evolution, when modern humans moved from Africa to Europe, Asia and Americas, they hunted down all the large animals for food, as they were hunter-gatherers. This led to the extinction of large animals in these areas, but not in Africa, especially in the regions where the tse-tse fly that transmits sleeping sickness exists. Maybe because man would die of sleeping sickness, and therefore could not hunt there. Pretty cool hum?

Meet Catarina and other scientists and hand-craft your own beastie at The Sparkle Horse on 11th June (7-9 pm) and the Hillhead Bookclub on 14th June (2-4 pm).  Both events are FREE. For full details, visit our website.

You can follow the Crafty Critters project on Twitter @MicroCritters and


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