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The Discovery Channel plans to feature Bernard Fried, the Gideon R. Jr. and Alice L. Kreider Professor Emeritus of Biology at Lafayette College, one of the world’s foremost experts in the field of parasitology, in a special one-hour, prime-time program about parasites that will probably air in January.

A Discovery Channel production crew spent an entire day in April in Fried’s laboratory with the professor and three of Fried’s current and former students, senior biology majors Caroline Balfour of Minnetonka, Minn., and Melissa Rossi of West Chester, Pa., and Aditya Reddy, a 1996 graduate.

The program will define parasites, discuss their history, and look at how various parasites affect humans, according to the producer and director, Paulette Moore. In a segment of the show highlighting Fried and his work the complex life cycle of parasites will be examined, with Fried discussing current research in the field.

Moore said the program, originally slated for June, then rescheduled for November, is now slated for January.

Moore says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta recommended Fried be included in the program. So distinguished is he in the field of parasitology that three organisms have been named in his honor. In the latest instance, scientists at the University of Valencia, Spain, named Echinostoma friedi for him.

“The species name is dedicated to Professor Bernard Fried,” the researchers say in their study of the parasite’s life cycle in the journal Systematic Parasitology this year, “for his great contributions to the study of the biology of the 37-collar spines echinostomes.” The other species named for him are Fessisentis friedi and Cercaria friedi.

Fried is listed in the new 55th edition of Who’s Who in America. Inclusion is based on one’s position and/or noteworthy achievements that be of significant value to society.

Moore says, “Most of us think of parasites as being just invasive and disgusting. It was great to talk to Dr. Fried because he thinks they’re one of the most complex and beautiful organisms on earth. He’s looking at them through his microscope and they’re looking back at him. It goes a long way toward helping us understand that this organism is pretty remarkable.”

Fried’s ninth book, Echinostomes as Experimental Models for Biological Research, was published in February by Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. Co-edited with T.K. Graczyk, the book includes contributions by “fifteen of the world’s best specialists,” Fried notes.

Fried has mentored many Lafayette students in his research. USA Today honored senior Erin Muller of Riverton, Conn., as one of the top 100 college students in the nation by naming her to its “2000 All-USA College Academic Team.”

The principal intellectual accomplishment that earned Muller the honor was an international research project with Fried and Joseph A. Sherma, Lafayette’s Larkin Professor of Chemistry, that promises to yield much-needed basic information on the biology of the flatworm parasite Schistosoma mansoni and the disease schistosomiasis, which affects at least 200 million people, many in Third World countries.

Muller researched the role of lipids, or fats, in mice infected with the parasite. The project brought her to Cambridge University in England, where her research partner, Laura Rosa-Brunet, a 1991 Lafayette graduate, is doing post-doctoral research.

“Dr. Rosa-Brunet sends me tissue and plasma samples from mice infected with the parasite, and I use high-performance thin-layer chromatography to analyze the difference in lipid concentrations in infected and uninfected samples,” Muller says. “I wanted to learn as much as possible about the laboratory techniques involved the project, so I used a research grant I received from Lafayette as part of my Marquis Scholarship to travel to Cambridge.

Muller said, “Such a unique opportunity for intellectual growth on the international level has truly surpassed my expectations of the college experience. I feel extremely fortunate to have learned and experienced so much through traveling, researching, and experimenting in the laboratory, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that my research will help advance scientific knowledge of the biochemical effect of a widespread disease.”

Balfour and Rossi were among 21 Lafayette biology and biochemistry majors invited to present their research at the 76th annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Academy of Sciences in April. They jointly presented summaries of projects undertaken with Fried, entitled “Effects of 100 Metacercarial Cyst Inoculum on the Host-Parasite Relationship of Echinostoma Caproni and ICR Mice” and “Viability and Infectivity of Echinostoma Caproni Metacercarial Cysts Stored at 4 Degrees C in Half-Strength Locke’s Solution.”

Fried retired from teaching in May after 37 years as a member of the Lafayette faculty. He joined the College in 1963 and was named Kreider Professor in 1975. Having been elected to emeritus status, Fried plans to continue his research program, including working with students.

On May 12, Lafayette dedicated the Bernard Fried Research Suite in Kunkel Hall in his honor. Funding for the renovation of the three-room research suite was given by a former student, R. Marshall Austin ’71, M.D., Ph. D., a forensic pathologist at Roper Hospital, Charleston Pathology in Charleston, S.C.

Categorized in: Academic News