Susan Perkins

Former Curator, Molecular Systematics

Research Associate


  • University of Vermont, Ph.D., 2000
  • SUNY Potsdam, B.A., 1993

Research Interests

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 vertebrates and insects. 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.  She is the co-curator of the exhibit "The Secret World Inside You."


Division of Invertebrate Zoology

Institute for Comparative Genomics

Richard Gilder Graduate School

Susan Perkins, Ph.D.


Perkins, S. L. 2018. Parasitology: diversity and inclusion for the future. Journal of Parasitology 104:579-583.

Ingala, M., N. B. Simmons and S. L. Perkins. 2018. Bats are an untapped system for understanding microbiome evolution in mammals. mSphere 5:e00397-18.

Galen, S.C., Borner, J., Martinsen, E.,Schaer, J., Austin, C. C., West, C., and S.L. Perkins. 2018. The polyphyly of Plasmodium: Comprehensive phylogenetic analyses of the malaria parasites (order Haemosporida) reveal widespread taxonomic conflict.  Royal Society Open Science 5:171780.

Rodriguez, Z.B., S.L. Perkins, and C.C. Austin.  2018.  Multiple origins of green blood in New Guinea lizards. Science Advances. 4: eaao5017.

Ingala, M.R., N. Simmons, C. Wultsch, K. Krampis, K.A. Speer, and S.L. Perkins.  2018. Comparing microbiome sampling methods in a wild mammal: fecal and intestinal samples record different signals of host ecology, evolution.  Frontiers in Microbiology 9:803.

Schaer, J., S. L. Perkins, I. Ejotre, M. E. Vodzak, K. Matuschewski, and D. M. Reeder.  2017. Epauletted fruit bats display exceptionally high infections with a Hepatocystis species complex in South Sudan. Scientific Reports 7, 6928.

Perkins, S. L. and J. Schaer. 2016. A modern menagerie of mammal malaria.  Trends in Parasitology. 32:772-782.

Falk, B. G., R. E. Glor, and S. L. Perkins. 2015. Clonal reproduction shapes evolution in the lizard malaria parasite, Plasmodium floridense.  Evolution. 69:1584-1596.Perkins, S. L.  2014.  Malaria's many mates: past, present, and future of the systematics of the order Haemosporida.  Journal of Parasitology 100:11-25.

Schaer, J.*, S. L. Perkins*, J. Decher, F. Leendertz, J. Fahr, N. Weber, and K. Matuschewski.  2013.  High diversity of West Africa bat malaria parasites and a tight link with rodent Plasmodium taxa.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. 110:17415-17419 (*co-first-authors)

Falk, B. G., and S. L. Perkins.  2013.  Host specificity shapes population structure of pinworm parasites in Caribbean reptiles.  Molecular Ecology 22:4576-4590.

Perkins, S. L., E. S. Martinsen, and B. G. Falk.  2011. Do molecules matter more than morphology? Promises and pitfalls in parasites.  Parasitology 138:1664-1674.

Falk, B. G., S. L. Perkins, and D. L. Mahler.  2011. Tree-based delimitation of morphologically ambiguous taxa: a survey of the malaria parasites of Hispaniola.  International Journal for Parasitology. 41:967-980.

Click here for full publication list

Teaching Experience

RGGS Courses

  • Evolution
  • Applied Phylogenetics
  • Anolis Lizards
  • Seminar Series

Current Graduate Advisees

  • Kelly Speer, RGGS
  • Melissa Ingala, RGGS
  • Rachael Joakim, CUNY

Past Graduate Advisees

  • Juliane Schaer
  • Miguel Pinto
  • Bryan Falk
  • Diana Belanger
  • Matthew Bealor
  • Antoinette Piaggio

Current Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Janus Borner

Past Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Oscar Pineda
  • Kevin Olival
  • Eric Waltari
  • Greg Baillie
  • Liliana Davalos