- B.S. in Biology, Calvin College, 1994
- M.S. in Zoology, Michigan State University, 1997
- Ph.D. in Biology (with distinction), University of New Mexico, 2003
I grew up in northwest Washington state in the land of evergreen trees and the Cascade mountains. Interests in biological research and parasitology developed as an undergraduate propelled me to graduate school, which brought many new adventures and a love for the southwest U.S. I enjoy reading, attending concerts, exploring Michigan, hiking, and camping with my wife and three children.
- Visiting Faculty, University of Michigan Biological Station (2019)
- Calvin University, Associate Professor (2013-present)
- Calvin College, Assistant Professor (2007-2013)
- Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institutes of Health (NIH) (2004-2007)
- Postdoctoral Researcher, University of New Mexico (2003-2004)
I love the biology and diversity of invertebrates, especially parasites and their hosts, and study them from ecological, evolutionary, and genetic perspectives. Before coming to Calvin, I was a research scientist at the National Institutes of Health near Washington D.C., where I worked on the interactions between malaria parasites and the mosquitoes that transmit them to people. During my Ph.D. studies, I participated in the first global genetic study of the human schistosome parasite, Schistosoma mansoni, and led the most complete genetic study of its snail host, Biomphalaria. Schistosomes and snails continue to be subjects of my research, including those in North America that cause “swimmer’s itch”. One of my favorite things is incorporating research into the classroom with the phage research course offered to first-year students.
Research and scholarship
- ‘swimmer’s itch’ on northern Michigan lakes (and elsewhere)
- schistosomes and their snail hosts (everywhere)
- using molecular tools in ecology; e.g., using DNA to detect bacteria in Plaster Creek, or to detect swimmer's itch parasites in lakes
- Calvin authors bolded; student authors underlined
- Anderson, Nathaniel J, CL Blankespoor, and RJ DeJong. 2022. The tails of two avian schistosomes: paired exposure study demonstrates that Trichobilharzia stagnicolae penetrates human skin more readily than a novel avian schistosome from Planorbella. Pathogens 11: 651. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11060651
- Loker, ES, RJ DeJong, and SV Brant. 2022. Scratching the Itch: Updated perspectives on the schistosomes responsible for swimmer’s itch around the world. Pathogens 11: 587. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11050587
- Loker, ES., SZ Dolginow, S Pape, CD Topper, P Alda, JP Pointier, ET Ebbs, MC Sanchez, RJ DeJong, SV Brant, and MR Laidemitt. 2021. An outbreak of canine schistosomiasis in Utah: acquisition of a new snail host (Galba humilis) by Heterobilharzia americana, a pathogenic parasite on the move. One Health 13 (2021) 100280. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352771421000707
- Ubels, John L, RJ DeJong, Brittany Hoolsema, Amy Wurzberger, Thuy-Tien Nguyen, HD Blankespoor, and CL Blankespoor. 2018. Impairment of Retinal Function in Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens) by Diplostomum baeri Metacercariae. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife 7 (2): 171–79. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijppaw.2018.05.001.
- Hanauer, DI, MJ Graham, SEA-PHAGES, L Betancur, A Bobrownicki, SG Cresawn, RA Garlena, et al. 2017. An Inclusive Research Education Community (IREC): Impact of the SEA-PHAGES Program on Research Outcomes and Student Learning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, December, 201718188. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1718188115.
- Pope WH, Montgomery MT, Bonilla JA, DeJong R, Garlena RA, Guerrero Bustamante C, Klyczek KK, Russell DA, Wertz JT, Jacobs-Sera D, Hatfull GF. 2017. Complete Genome Sequences of 38 Gordonia sp. Bacteriophages. Genome Announcements 5:1. http://genomea.asm.org/content/5/1/e01143-16
- James G Lamine, RJ DeJong, and Serita M Nelesen. 2016. PhamDB: a web-based application for constructing Phamerator databases. Bioinformatics 32 (13):2026-2028. doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btw106. https://academic.oup.com/bioinformatics/article/32/13/2026/1743422
In the news
NSF grant boosts Calvin's research infrastructure
A $338,000 grant from the National Science Foundation provides more research opportunities for students through access to more state of the art equipment.
Researching the mighty phage
Summer research projects pair two students with two professors in the study of bacteriophages.
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