The 13th International Workshops on Opportunistic Protists (IWOP-13) was held November 13-15, 2014 in Seville, Spain. The objectives of the IWOP meetings are to: (1) serve as a forum for exchange of new information among active researchers concerning the basic biology, molecular genetics, immunology, biochemistry, pathogenesis, drug development, therapy, and epidemiology of these immunodeficiency-associated pathogenic eukaryotic microorganisms that are seen in patients with AIDS and; (2) to foster the entry of new and young investigators into these underserved research areas. The IWOP meeting focuses on opportunistic protists; e.g. the free-living amoebae, Pneumocystis, Cryptosporidium, Toxoplasma, the Microsporidia, and kinetoplastid flagellates. This conference represents the major conference which brings together research groups working on these opportunistic pathogens. Progress has been achieved on understanding the biology of these pathogenic organisms, their involvement in disease causation in both immune deficient and immune competent hosts and is providing important insights into these emerging and reemerging pathogens. A continuing concern of the participants is the ongoing loss of scientific expertise and diversity in this research community. This decline is due to the small size of these research communities and an ongoing lack of understanding by the broader scientific community of the challenges and limitations faced by researchers working on these organisms, which makes these research communities very sensitive to declines in research funding.
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