The 11th in the series of International Workshops on Opportunistic Protists (IWOP-11) was held in August 2010 on the Big Island of Hawaii. These meetings are devoted to agents of infections that cause serious problems in AIDS patients and other individuals with defective immune systems. International Workshops on Opportunistic Protists serves as a forum for exchange of current research information on Pneumocystis, Cryptosporidium and the Microsporidia, Toxoplasma, free-living amoebae, kinetoplastid flagellates and other pathogens that are particularly pathogenic in immunodeficient hosts. Studies on interactions between host and pathogen, especially host responses, were highlighted in this year's symposium. The lack of in vitro cultivation methods for luxuriant growth of Pneumocystis, Cryptosporidium and the Enterocytozoon bieneusi remains a major hindrance to understanding the basic biology of these organisms and precludes genetic manipulations. However, slow but steady progress is being achieved by hard work including data mining of some completed or partially completed genome sequencing of several IWOP organisms. Of great concern is evidence for dramatic decline in research funding for these pathogens and the lack of appreciation by the larger scientific community concerning the state of art and challenges faced by researchers working on these organisms that can provide critical insight into emerging and reemerging pathogens.
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