March 23 Seminar Series in Biology

The Seminar Series in Biology will present “Hosts and Hemoglobin: Using Genomics to Understand Malaria and other Haemosporidians” at 4 p.m. Friday, March 23, in Science I, Room 121. The talk will be presented by Susan Perkins, American Museum of Natural History.

In this presentation, Dr. Perkins will discuss malaria, well known as a major disease in people, but humans are only one of the hosts of this diverse group of parasites, known as haemosporidians. Other vertebrates, including other types of mammals (bats, rodents, ungulates) as well as lizards, birds and turtles are infected with different species of these parasites. Though all share the same basic life cycle, key differences between them open up new areas of research.

This series is offered several times throughout the semester to provide our student community with opportunities to learn about scientific research and professions. Speakers may include our own department faculty or students, as well as biologists and other professionals from elsewhere. All are welcome.

Dr. Susan Perkins is the Curator of Molecular Systematics, Principal Investigator, Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School. Dr. Perkins conducts research on the malaria parasites that use vertebrates other than humans, such as lizards, bats, and birds, as their hosts. She applies phylogenomics approaches to the study of the systematics and evolution of these organisms. Her lab is also interested in the interaction of these parasites with the microbiome of both the vertebrate host and the insect vector. Other research projects in the Perkins lab have included projects of the parasites that cause Chagas Disease, population genetics of canine heartworm, and genomics of encephalitis viruses.