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The Parasitology Unbound Collective: commission report

Faculty Advisor




brain parasites, Toxoplasma gondii, human behavior

Abstract (summary)

This interdisciplinary commission was formed to assess and respond to the sudden collapse of the Parasitology Unbound Collective, a research initiative supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in partnership with the National Health Association (NHA). The Collective was conceived as a comprehensive three-year program to study the effects of the common brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii on human behavior and psychology. However, the operation was forced to shut down less than two years into its projected timeline for reasons that are still under investigation. The following report was written in affiliation with the A/N/I/M/A/C/I/E/S/ ROOM (“A Room for Sciences Studies in Action”) at Alberta Regional University. It compiles a record of the events leading up to and including the incident at the Collective’s primary testing facility in Beltsville, Maryland, on May 20, 2019, and the contemporaneous disappearance of lead researcher Charles Wilson along with seven (7) live cats infected with toxoplasmosis. This record contains primary documentation, beginning with Dr. Wilson’s NHA grant application, and includes correspondences between NHA officials and Wilson, as well as excerpts from private journals and other miscellaneous documents recovered from the Beltsville facility. In order to secure its publication in ASAP/ Journal, the commission has taken the opportunity to provide relevant contextualizing documents, including discursive paratextual notes and additional secondary scholarship, when necessary. The paratextual notes were written by two ARU graduate students who were hired as summer researchers.

Publication Information

David Hollingshead (2020), “The Parasitology Unbound Collective: Commission Report.” ASAP/Journal, 5:3 (715-744) doi:10.1353/asa.2020.0046


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