The study of parasites typically crosses into other research disciplines and spans across diverse scales, from molecular- to populational-levels, notwithstanding promoting an understanding of parasites set within evolutionary time. Today, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) help frame much of contemporary parasitological research, since parasites can be found in all ecosystems, blighting human, animal and plant health. In recognition of the multi-disciplinary nature of parasitological research, the 2017 Autumn Symposium of the British Society for Parasitology was held in London to provide a forum for novel exchange across medical, veterinary and wildlife fields of study. Whilst the meeting was devoted to the topic of parasitism, it sought to foster mutualism, the antithesis perhaps of parasitism, by forging new academic connections and social networks to exchange novel ideas. The meeting also celebrated the longstanding career of Professor David Rollinson, FLS in the award of the International Federation for Tropical Medicine Medal for his efforts spanning 40 years of parasitological research. Indeed, David has done so much to explore and promote the fascinating biology of parasitism, as exemplified by the 15 manuscripts contained within this Special Issue.