Festival Year: 2017

Mark E. Siddall

Roles: Panelist

Dr. Siddall’s career has been devoted to uncovering biodiversity and evolutionary histories for the most successful animal life-history strategy of all time: parasitism. His research has encompassed protistan parasites from giardiasis and malaria to commercially significant shellfish pathogens, helminths, and even blood-feeding ectoparasites from bed bugs to leeches. He presently serves as president-elect of the American Society of Parasitologists and as treasurer of the Willi Hennig Society.

Anchored in a deep a tradition of fieldwork that spans the globe, Siddall has been central to the Sackler Institute of Comparative Genomics adopting and leveraging emergent DNA sequencing technologies to advance biodiversity sciences. The core of this mission is a broadly comparative understanding of genomic evolution comprising a fuller architecture of life than model organism studies allow.

Siddall is a defender of the need to conserve neglected organisms such as leeches. He is also an outspoken advocate for pressing eradicable human parasites to extinction while capturing knowledge about their life-cycles, ecology and genomics as they are decidedly extirpated.

Exhibitions that he has curated at the Museum include The Power of Poison, Picturing Science, and Undersea Oasis. He is also co-curator of the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. His popular book Poison: Sinister Species with Deadly Consequences is available at the Museum shop.

Festival Year: 2017



(US, 2016, 56min)