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Who we are

   Andreas Schmidt-Rhaesa
      University of Hamburg
   Matt Bolek
      Oklahoma State University
   Ben Hanelt
      University of New Mexico

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Researchers dedicated to the Hairworm Biodiversity Survey


BenBen HaneltUNMlogo

Ben is a Research Assistant Professor with the Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology (CETI) in the Department of Biology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

His research has focused on the interface between evolution, ecology, genetics, and genomics of parasitic organisms and their hosts.  He is especially interested in studying the interactions among parasites and between parasites and hosts.  He has pioneered work on establishing a gordiid model system.  His work on this group has allowed for the unraveling of their life cycle, transmission, ecology, evolution, and has led to the domestication of several hairworm species.  His most recent work has focused on integrating molecular techniques into addressing questions of host-parasite interactions and evolutionary epidemiology using the human parasite Schistosoma mansoni.  His work on this group has included differential gene expression of the vector snails to increase our understanding of the snail’s immune system, study of parasite species hybridization in nature, and development of a technique to quantify and qualify parasite populations within human patients.

A link to Ben's home page can be found here.

MattMatt BolekOSU

Matt is an Assistant Professor of Zoology in the Department of Zoology at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater Oklahoma.

His research interests are in the area of parasite ecology, evolution of parasite life cycles, and parasite taxonomy.  I utilize parasites of amphibians and aquatic invertebrates in order to investigate parasite ecology and evolution because lower vertebrates and invertebrates have invaded a multitude of microhabitats and exhibit a striking diversity of life histories, reproductive strategies, body sizes, foraging modes, and trophic relations.  They serve as both intermediate and definitive hosts and their parasite fauna is diverse.  Therefore, these hosts provide a good model for studying biotic and abiotic ecological factors that determine parasite species’ distribution, abundance, and movements through ecosystems.  This system enables our laboratory to investigate questions of how host and parasite life histories co-evolve, and affect parasite community structure, parasite biogeography, and distribution in time and space

Links to Matt's home pages can be found here and here

AndreasAndreas Schmidt-RhaesaUniHamburg

Andreas is the Curator at the Zoological Museum at the University of Hamburg in Hamburg Germany.

He is an expert on nematomorphs but also an expert on the morphology and evolution of many of the lesser known groups. He has extensive experience in alpha taxonomy of nematomorphs and also studies the gastrotrichs  because they are considered to be closely related to the molting non-panarthropods and yet they themselves do not molt.

Andreas has recently published a book entitled: The Evolution of Organ Systems. You can get additional information here

A link to Andreas' home page can be found here.

From left to right: Matt Bolek, Ben Hanelt, Andreas Schmidt-Rhaesa.  Photo taken by Christina Williams at the 2012 International Nematomorpha Symposium, held in conjunction with the annual American Society of Parasitologists meeting, Richmond, Virginia.

Copyright 2014 Ben Hanelt, Matt Bolek, and Andreas Schmidt-Rhaesa
Updated: July 2015