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Current students

Bell grad

Tyler Achatz, Ph.D. student

Tyler has started his PhD program in August 2016. He spent almost no time for settling in or adjusting to the new lab and has immediately begun generating interesting data. The process was rather seamless due to the skills and knowledge obtained during his M.S. studies in Robert Sorensen's lab at the Minnesota State University, Mankato. Tyler is making great progress in his studies and has already published/submitted several manuscripts in less than 2 years. He has also presented his research at several national and regional meetings and received a variety of awards from the Department of Biology and the American Society of Parasitologists. In June 2018, he received the George A. LaRue Award for the best oral presentation of parasitological research as well as the award for the best overall presentation at the 70th AMCOP meeting.Tyler has received the 2019 Willis A. Reid award from the American Society of Parasitologists, Esther Wadsworth Hall Wheeler Award from the Department of Parasitology (twice), Joe K. Neel Memorial Award (twice), Outstanding Graduate Student award (twice) and a number of other recognitions and grants. He has published 10 papers (7 first author) so far as a graduate student.

Bell grad

Jakson Martens , undergraduate student

Jakson works in the lab for more than 2 years. He has worked on several projects involving both field and lab work. Since joining the team Jakson has always been very enthusiastic and motivated about research and learning new things. He has become particularly interested in larval stages of digeneans in the region as well as in some cyathocotylids from tropics. Jakson presented his research at a couple of regional meetings including a talk at 2019 AMCOP. He was a recipient of the REU summer scholarship in summer of 2019. Last fall Jakson received a research stipend from the Department of Biology. Currently he is working on two manuscripts stemming from his undrgraduate research in collaboration with Tyler Achatz and Vasyl Tkach. Jaklson has just graduated from the UND and was accepted to our graduate program. Well done.

                                       Bell grad                                            

Taylor Chermak , undergraduate student

Taylor volunteered to work in the lab already in her first semester as a freshman student and continued in the spring of 2020.She has learned basic molecular and microscopy techniques remarkably quickly and participated in several projects in teh lab, studying parasites of birds and reptiles and making progress on her own project.


Past students

Bell grad

Jeffrey Bell, Ph.D. student

Jeff has received his M.S. degree from the North Dakota State University as an ornithologist. Woodpeckers are his favorite group of birds. Jeff has gained a lot of experience doing research on several projects related to birds and their parasites and authored/co-authored multiple publications. He did an outstanding job on his PhD project on the hematozoans of Amazonian birds. Jeff improved and developed several protocols critical for laboratory processing of numerous avian blood samples and analyzed a very large amount of data. He received support from the Department of Biology, UND, American Society of Parasitologists and the organizers of the international symposium on avian blood sporozoans. In 2015 Jeff received a competitive Summer Doctoral Fellowship from the UND. In spring of 2016, right before his graduation, he received the Oustanding Graduate Student award from the UND department of Biology. Congratulations, so well done!

Stephen Greiman, Ph.D. student

Metamorphosis from an undergraduate to a PhD student took Stephen only one day. He started his Ph.D. program next day after his graduation. The subject of his disertation was Neorickettsia bacteria endosymbiotic in digeneans. He mastered numerous laboratory methods and collected material in the USA (Mississippi, Alaska, North Dakota, Minnesota, Oregon), Philippines, Guatemala (twice), Vietnam (twice), Philippines, Laos and Thailand. Stephen received the departmental award for an outstanding Ph.D. student three years in a row! He also received support from the UND, American Society of Parasitologists, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and summer doctoral fellowship from ND EPSCoR. Stephen did a remarkable job and graduated after 8 semesters with 13 peer-reviewed papers and several submitted manuscripts. Before graduation he received highly competitive NSF post-gradiuate fellowship and is now doing a great job as a postdoc at Joseph Cook's lab, University of New Mexico. In July of 2016 at the ASP meeting in Edmonton Stephen received the Ashton Cuckler New Investigator award from the Society. Then Stephen was offered a tenure track faculty position at the Georgia Southern University just 2 weeks after turning 27 years old. Way to go, Stephen!

Kaylyn Patitucci , M.S. student

Kaylyn's thesis was on helminths of Amazonian birds collected in Brazil and Peru. It involved a variety of techniques including extensive morphological and molecular work. Kaylyn not only did an exemplary job on her project, but also actuvely participated in a variety of "side" projects dealing with a variety of helminths from animals in the U.S. and the Philippines. She collected specimens in the Uniated States, Peru and Kenya. Kaylyn received support from the Department of Biology, UND and the American Society of Parasitologists, and was the recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Student award from the Department of Biology in spring of 2015. She has prepared a very solid thesis which she successfully defended in December of 2015. Before graduation she already had two first-author peer-reviewed articles published and several other manuscripts are in preparation.

Susana Rios, M.S. student

Susana Rios has joined the lab in August of 2011 after graduation from the Shippensburg University, PA. For her thesis Susana studied adult and larval stages of avian schistosomatids in birds and snails across North Dakota which. She used DNA sequencing of nuclear ribosomal and mitoichondrial genes for their identification and systematic/phylogenetic placement. Susana has successfully completed her research and defended her thesis on the Haloween day in October of 2014. Susana received several research and travel awards from the department, UND and the American Society of Parasitologists. She defended her thesis in the fall of 2014 with flying colors and went to work at one of the NEON project centers.

Thayane Fernandes, visiting PhD student

Thayane Fernandes, a PhD student from the Federal University of Para, Brazil, spent a year in my lab on a fellowship funded by the Brazilian governemntal foundation. She heroically endured North Dakota winter.I can also personally relate to the fact that coming into a foreign country with a different language for the first time and for a long time is not easy.Thayane did great. She is a very hard worker and accomplished a lot in a relatively short time. She mastered a variety of methods and techniques and obtained molecular and morphological data for at least 4 manuscripts. Thayane also attended 2019 AMCOP and ASP meetings and presenting her research at both. Well done, Thayane.

Jacob Kipp, undergraduate student

Jacob worked in the lab in 2018-2019, He participated in several projects and helped in collecting parasites from various hosts, from snails to birds and small mammals. It was great to have him in the lab both due to his good work and usually being in high spirits which made routine work less tedious. His last semester he worked with PhD student Tyler Achatz and myself on a description of a new species of digeneans. This work is now being prepared as a manuscript. Jacob is graduating in December of 2019 and is looking forward to starting a career in fish and wildlife service. Good luck, Jake!

Dawn Cleveland, undergraduate student

Dawn worked on a number of research projects in a couple of labs at the Department of Biology, but she seems to like parasites and vector-borne diseases the most. After helping with collecting specimens of small mammals and processing them in the lab she was interested in working on a focused project. She collaborated with Tyler Achatz and another undergraduate student preparing descriptions and a molecular phylogenetic analysis of digeneans of small mammals from South America and did a great work at that mastering a variety of necessary techniques.She received a research stipend from the Department of Biology and presented her work at the 2019 AMCOP meeting in Mankato, MN. Dawn is now a graduate student at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Great job and thanks, Dawn!

Mitchell Floura, undergraduate student

Mitchell worked with us for more than a year, starting summer of 2018. He was a great student and quickly mastered all necessary tools. Mitchell worked with Vasyl Tkach on a project dealing with cestdoes collected on three different continents.He received a research stipend award from the Department of Biology and in June of 2019 received the award for the best undergraduate oral presentation at the AMCOP meeting. He has been accepted to the UND School of Health Sciences where he studies now while finishing the manuscript stemming from his undergraduate research.No doubt Mitchell will become an excellent physician.

Lawrence Cronin, undergraduate student

Although Lawrence worked in the lab for only one semester in spring of 2019 he did a great job quickly learning necessary techniques and assisting in several projects. He has also worked on a project involving morphological and molecular pjhylogenetic analysis of digeneans of South American small mammals. The results are currently being prepared for publication.

Jayme Burgard, undergraduate student

Jayme was a great student who excelled in classes, therefore I was very happy that she expressed interest to work with us in my lab. Although she spent in the lab only one semester in spring of 2019, she did an outstanding job helping with several projects and being an important member of the team. Jayme has an enviable ability to learn very quickly and stay focused on complex tasks. I wish she could stay in the lab longer, but hope and believe she has a great career after graduation.

Grace Werner, undergraduate student

Grace took animal biology class in spring of 2018 and was the top student in the class. Therefore, it was an easy decision when she expressed her interest in doing research in the lab. Grace worked in the lab during the summer of 2018 as an REU student with main focus on avian blood flukes (causing "swimmer's itch" in humans) in the region and continued in the fall of 2018 and spring of 2019 assisting with several projects with a focus on systematics and evolution of avian hymenolepidid cestodes. Grace received a research award from the Deprtment of Biology and presented her work at regional meetings.

Sydney Chase, undergraduate student

Sydney worked in the lab during the spring semester of 2018. Despite the short time, she learned everything very quickly and made substantial contributions helping with several projects, particualrly in work on helminths from South American small mammals. She was a fantastic team member. Sydney graduated in May of 2018.

Riley White, undergraduate student

Riley worked in the lab during the summer of 2018 as an REU student visiting UND from his college in Iowa. Riley learned a variety of techniquess and did a lot of field and lab work. He was particularly involved in a study of avian blood sporozoans ("avian malaria") in the region. It was great to have him a member of the team and we wish him good luck in finishing his education and future career.

Alyssa Sogge, undergraduate student

Alyssa is double majoring in Biology and Anthropology and worked in the lab in the spring semester of 2016. She has quickly mastered several techniques and did great job in molecular lab.



Roy Nelson, Biology undergraduate and Physical Therapy graduate student

Roy was in the lab since the end of 2012 until summer of 2017 as a Biology undergraduate major and a physical therapy graduate student. He has received his doctorate in physical therapy in May of 2017 and now works as a professional in texas. Roy assisted with several projects, particularly with the screening of larval digeneans for Neorickettsia and also with the work on avian blood flukes and echinostomatids. He did a terrific job in the lab and without his help some studies simply would not have been done. Thank you Roy and best wishes for your life and career!

Molly Driscoll , undergraduate student

Molly was a biology major heading towards a specialization in laboratory science. She was a recipient is an NSF REU scholarship and was indispensable in several projects, while primarily working with the specimens obtained by the Amazon project. She screened blood films for sporozoans, prepared a lot of stained total mounts, and did countlesss PCRs and related molecular procedures.Thank you very much for all your help, Molly.

Zach Selzler, undergraduate student

Zach Selzler worked in the lab during the summer of 2014 and 2014-2015 academic year. He worked on a project that has become a subject of his Honors thesis. This study analyzed the biversity, distribution and phylogenetic interrelationships (using traditional phylogeny and network analysis based on mitochondrial genes) of the digeneans of genus Aptorchis parasitic in Australian freshwater turles. Zach did an outstanding job doing this work and learning numerous techniques and prepared a very strong thesis. The results are being prepared for publication. Zach was accepted in his first choice medical school and is studying at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Alexis Caolli, high school student

Alexis is a student at the Red River High School, Grand Forks. Her training and work in the summer of 2014 has been supported by the NSF high school student research assistantship program. Alexis has been trained in several of laboratory techniques and is mainly assisting with work on digeneans , inclusing avian blood flukes.

Abby Aymond, high school student

Abby is a student at the Red River High School, Grand Forks. Her training and work in the summer of 2014 has been supported by the NSF high school student research assistantship program. Alexis has been trained in several of laboratory techniques and is mainly assisting with work on digeneans , inclusing avian blood flukes.

Emily Lawrence, undergraduate student

Emily worked in the lab during the whole year of 2013. Despite the relatively short time she participated in several projects ranging from rhabdiasid nematodes to hymenolepidid tapeworms, etc. She will co-author peer-reviewed papers that are currently in preparation. Emily has graduated in December of 2013. Emily plans to become a family physician. She applied to several medical school and has just received and acceptance notice from her first choice school. Well done and congratulations, Emily!

Kayla Steffes , undergraduate student

Kayla worked in the lab for nearly 2 years helping with several projects. She was a recipient of the NSF REU scholarship in the summer of 2012 to work with material on nematodes from South American birds. As her independent study she participated in the description of a new microphallid species and genus from Australian rodents and a new species Alloglossidium demshini from leeches in Minnesota (now published). Kayla has graduated in May of 2013, but in the summer of 2013 she still worked on molecular characterization of digenean larval stages collected from snails in North Dakota and overseas.Upon graduation from UND Kayla studied at veterinary school in Los Angeles and has successfully graduated in May of 2018. Fantastic job, Kayla!

Spencer Carmichael (high school student)

Spencer's training and participation in research during the summer of 2012 was supported by the NSF summer scholarship for high school student. He learned a lot of things and assisted in various lab projects and activities. Spencer's assistance with maintainig snail colonies was particularly important for the ongoing research in the lab.


Christopher Bothun, undergraduate student

Chris worked in the lab in his senior years and assisted in several projects. He was a recipient of the NSF REU scholarship in the summer of 2012 to work on avian schistosomatids. Since then, Chris was accepted in the School of Dentistry, University of Minnesota, finished his studies, graduated and returned to Grand Forks to practice dentistry. So well done!

Amanda Steffes (high school studen and now undergraduate studentt)

Amanda's training and participation in research during the summer of 2012 was supported by the NSF summer scholarship for high school student. Amanda learned PCR, DNA sequencing, some elements of microscopy, screening snails for cercariae gs and assisted in snail husbandry. Later, Amanda followed her sister's footsteps and did research in my lab as a UND undergraduate student.,Amanda assisted with various tasks and carryied out her own project on trichostrongylid nematdoes. She graduated in May of 2018 and will start her studies at the School of Dentistry, University of Minnesota, in the fall.


Janna Mabey

Janna did research in my laboratory as a directed study studnet and a research assistant while working on her M.S. thesis in moth systematics. She did a great job and assisted in several projects doing a lot of molecular work and light microscopy. The main focus of her study were acanthocephalans of amphibians and reptiles from SE Asia which resulted in publication of two new species and keys for identification of Pseudoacanthocephalus which was featured on the cover page of the "Journal of Parasitology". Well done!

Stephen Greiman, undergraduate student

Stephen worked in the lab since 2009 as an undergradute student. He worked on several projects and helped to collect specimens in the field in North Dakota, Minnesota and Mississippi) and received departmental awards for undergraduate. He was a recipient of NSF REU and UND AURA stipends. Stephen has done a lot of molecular and microscopy work and has published a description of a tapeworm from Africa as the first author, based on his undergraduate research.

Andrew Mills (undergraduate student)

Andrew worked in the lab since spring of 2009 through summer of 2011. Andrew helped with multiple projects, but his main focus was the differentiation between species of Alloglossidium in Minnesota and North Dakota. This work has resulted in Andrew receiving the award for the best Honors thesis at UND in 2011 and publication of a peer-reviewed paper in "Acta Parasitologica" with molecular and morphological differentiation among Alloglossidium and description of a new species. His other project dealt with the phylogenetic position of poorly known digenean genus Neoheterophyes from southeast Asian bats. The manuscript on this subject is under preparation. Andrew has presented his work at meetings and received several departmental awards including Edith Larson Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student and several other distinctions. Andrew was awarded an AURA and REU stipends. Andrew has graduated from the UND school of Medicine in May of 2015 and continues his residency in surgey at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

Sierra Unruh (undergraduate student)

Sierra helped with a couple of projects, but her main focus was the differentiation and description of a new species of liolopid digeneans from Australian freshwater crocodile. The manuscript is under preparation. Currently Sierra is studying at an optometry school.

Kaitlyn Kelly (undergraduate student)

Kaitlyn worked on molecular comparison of Cloacotaenia tapeworms from several species of waterfowl collected in Europe and North America. She has graduated from UND at the end of 2011.



Eric Strand (undergraduate student)

Eric worked in the lab since spring of2007 through spring of 2009. He helped with preparing DNA sequences and slides of several turtle digenean taxa as well as sequences of Austramphilina and Macroderoides digeneans from alligator gar in Texas. He co-authored a paper on a new species of Macroderoides. Eric has presented his work at two regional meetings and was a recepient of highly competitive Oschel-Whittaker award ($5,000) in 2007 and departmental Edith Larson Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student in 2008. Eric was also awarded an AURA and REU stipends. Upon his graduation from UND Eric has started his studies at the School of Dentistry of the University of Minnesota.

Rachel Krein (undergraduate student)

Rachel worked in the lab since fall of 2007 through spring of 2009. She helped with various taxa, but her specific project is the molecular (ribosomal and mitochondrial genes) and morphological identification and differentiation of amphilinid cestodes from Australian turtles. This proved to be an extremely difficult group due to numerous problems with DNA amplification and sequencing, particularly of ribosomal genes. She has defended her Honors thesis and graduated in May 2009. Rachel was also awarded an AURA and REU stipends. As of December of 2011 she worked in a biomedical laboratory in Fargo.

Antoine Fettig (undergraduate student)

Toni worked on molecular differentiation among digeneans of the genus Choanocotyle during 2007 and 2008. She processed all available samples except for the most recent ones collected upon her graduation from UND in May 2008. She extracted DNA, obtained sequences, made digital images of extracted specimens and prepared total mounts of extracted specimens and additional vouchers. Toni received an award (and a book signed by John Janovy! - see photo) for the best poster at the Northern Prairie Biological Symposium in April 2008. Toni was awarded an NSF REU scholarship to work in my lab. Her work will allow us to summarize available data on this genus and publish a paper with her as a co-author. Upon graduation Toni started working for the Three Affiliated Tribes Fish & Wildlife Division and is now the Division's Director. So happy for you, Toni.

Jenifer Ness (undergraduate student)

Jenifer worked on molecular and morphological differentiation of digeneans of the genus Sigmapera since spring of 2007 through fall of 2008. She processed a large number of samples which, combined with data obtained by PIs Snyder and Tkach, helped to outline distribution of two cryptic species of this previously monotypical genus. Jenifer was the only undergraduate who presented her work at the Northern Prairie Biological Symposium in April 2008. She also received a highly competitive Oschel-Whittaker award ($5,000) in 2007 and departmental Floyd Hunter Award for field work in 2008. Jenifer has graduated from UND in December 2008 and planned to become a veterinary doctor. She went to the veterinary school at the Washington State University.

Christina Brewer (Ph.D. student)

Christina has started as a Ph.D. stdent, but after a year had to stop due to health issues. She had time to work on two projects involving digeneans of bats and sea turtles.

Michael Maier (undergraduate student)

Michael worked with me one semester only in the fall 2006, but he was able to sequence numerous samples of nematodes belonging to genera Camallanus, Krefftascaris and Spiroxys. His works has allowed to provide reliable molecular differentiatio among species of Camallanus from Australian turtles and describe a new species. Mike co-auithored a paper in "Comparative Parasitology". Mike has graduated from UND and has now graduated from the school of Dentistry of the University of Minnesota.

LeAnne Froese

LeAnne worked in the lab for two years and did outstanding job assisting with various projects, mainly studying frog parasites and filariid nematodes. Her individual project was focused on the digeneans of the family Macroderoididae. She co-authored a paper describing a new species of Macroderoides from Texas. LeAnne always wanted to become a veterinarian. Upon graduateion from UND LeAnne was accepted by several top veterinary programs. She chose the University of Colorado and has graduated from it a year ago. Now LeAnne owns and works at her veterinary clinic in Chatfield, Minnesota.

Mary Jaros-Gourneau

Mary has started working in the lab in summer of 2003 and graduated in spring of 2004. She assisted in a project studying frog parasites and did research for her Honors thesis studying digenean metacercariae causing "black spots" in a gynogenetic cyprinid fish complex in Voyageurs National Park. This research was a part of a wider study carried out by Dr. Isaac Schlosser and his students. Upon graduation Mary entered the M.S. of public health program at the Johns Hopkins university.



Past and present collaborators (this part is still under construction)

Dr. Scott D. Snyder

University of Nebraska at Omaha



Dr. Zdzislaw Swiderski

Institute of Parasitology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw


Dr. Yuriy Kuzmin

Institute of Zoology, Kiev, Ukraine


Dr. Robin Overstreet

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Ocean Springs, MS


Dr. David Blair

James Cook University, Townsville, Australia


Dr. Sara Brant

University of New Mexico


Dr. Jason Weckstein

Field Museum, Chicago


Dr. Vadim Kornyushin

Institute of Zoology, Kiev, Ukraine

Eric Pulis

After obtaining his M.S. at the UND Eric went for the Ph.D. program with Dr. Robin Oversytreet at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. Eric has defended his Ph.D. dissertation in spring of 2014 and worked as a conservation ecologist at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, Gulfport, Mississippi. Eric is an outstanding parasitologist and wildlife biologist with a strong publication record. His field work skills are amazing. During his graduate studies at UND and USM Eric worked in the field in various areas in the United States, Costa Rica, China, Austtralia, Argentina and on research vesels in the Gulf of Mexico. Starting from Augist 2018 he is a faculty position at the Northern State University at Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Dr. Arseny Makarikov

Institute of Systematics and Ecology of Animals of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk

Arseny is an expert on hymenolepidids of small mammals, particularly rodents.

Dr. Mike Kinsella

HelmWest Laboratory, Missoula, Montana


Dr. Stephen Curran

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Ocean Springs, MS


Dr. Olga Lisitsyna

Institute of Zoology, Kiev, Ukraine

Dr. Alan Fecchio

Currently a postdoc at Drexel University, Philadelphia


Dr. Boyko Georgiev

Central Laboratory of General Ecology, Sofia, Bulgaria


Dr. Olena Kudlai

The Nature research Centre, Vilnius:

Institute of Zoology, Kiev: Homepage:

Dr. Chris McAllister

Eastern Oklahoma State College. Homepage:


Dr. Joanna Hildebrand

Wroclaw University, Poland


Dr. Bibigul Zhumabekova

Pavlodar State Pedagogical University, Kazakhstan

Dr. Daniel Gonzalez Acuna

Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias
Universidad de Concepcion, Chillan, Chile

Dr. Francisco Tiago Melo

Federal University of Para, Belem, Brazil


UND UND-Biology Last Modified 8/27/20