Susan Perkins is a microbiologist who specialized on the malaria parasites that infect non-human hosts, including those in lizards, birds, bats, and turtles. She got her Ph.D. from the University of Vermont in 2000 and has been Curator of Microbial Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History since 2004. In addition to the work that she has done on Saba for almost 20 years, Susan also has traveled to Africa, Australia, and many other places in the Caribbean in order to sample the parasites from various lizards and works with other collaborators who study lizards and bats in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, South Sudan, and the Congo. You don't need to worry about getting sick from any of these species of malaria in lizard or birds, but studying them can offer up clues as to how they are such successful parasites in humans. Susan knew she was going to be a biologist her whole life and in fact asked for a microscope for her 6th birthday. Throughout her career, she has pursued other projects on behavior of tropical bats, the bacteria that help leeches to digest blood, and viruses carried by mosquitoes. In addition to the fun work of catching lizards, she also is a professor at the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the AMNH and recently developed an iPhone game with a group of high school students that teaches players how microbes are linked to the creatures that can be found in the Museum's exhibits.
We will be updating our calendar with activity dates and times as we continue to coordinate our event. Stay tuned!