Former Biology Student Names New Worm Species In Honor of Prof. Collins

a middle-aged white male professor standing and smiling with students in a classroom behind him working
Dr. Michael Collins of the Department of Biology

Not everyone thinks about having his or her name listed among parasitic worms, but Dr. Michael Collins, associate professor of biology, now has bragging rights. “I am deeply touched and honored that a former student, Jackson Roberts, described a new species of turtle blood fluke and named it ‘Spirorchis collinsi.’ I’m proud of this young man and scientist,” says Collins (pictured above). 

Roberts, who is a 2014 biology alumnus, collaborated with Collins on undergraduate research focusing on malaria parasites found in bird communities. He also became interested in freshwater turtles and their parasites.
After graduating from Rhodes, Roberts enrolled at Auburn University where he is a member of the Aquatic Parasitology Laboratory under Dr. Ash Bullard. He and the lab’s researchers have been studying parasitic flatworms, including blood flukes that infect the blood of turtles in Alabama and abroad. 

In the scientific community, it is not uncommon to name a species or life form after friends, family, and even celebrities.