Brain, Biology and Behavior, Center for


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Comp. Parasitol. 81(2), 2014, pp. 289–290


Dr. Roberts was born in the great state of Texas, and much of his early life is murky, but snakes are often mentioned. Larry received his Bachelor’s degree at Southern Methodist University; his Master of Science at the University of Illinois; and his Doctorate in the Department of Pathobiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. Larry’s doctoral research, published in Experimental Parasitology, documented the early development and crowding effect of the tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta, in the rat small intestine. His publication on this subject opened the door to the golden age of cestode physiology and biochemistry from the early 1960s through the 1980s. For example, he was author or coauthor of 17 different studies beginning with ‘‘Developmental Physiology of Cestodes.’’ Moreover, he had numerous other papers dealing with cestode biochemistry. In addition, Larry was awarded the American Society of Parasitologist’s Henry Baldwin Ward medal in 1971 based largely upon his early research. Larry did postdoctoral studies at McGill University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and then he moved to Texas Tech University. Early in his career he worked with prominent scientists in the field, including Clark Read, Everett Schiller, Donald Fairbairn, and Ernest Bueding. In addition to his cestode work, Larry early on developed an affinity for the systematics of parasitic ergasilid copepods of freshwater fishes. He published several species descriptions and an important review paper on the genus Ergasilus, revising the genus and providing a key to the species in North America that is still consulted today.

Larry Roberts is well known as the lead coauthor of the very popular parasitology textbook, Foundations of Parasitology, originally with Gerald Schmidt and now in its ninth edition with John Janovy Jr. and Steve Nadler as coauthors. Significantly, Larry is also a coauthor of three other biology textbooks, namely, Animal Diversity, Biology of Animals, and Integrated Principles of Zoology, each having several editions and translations. In addition to serving for the past two years as the president of the Helminthological Society of Washington, Larry is a past president of the Southeastern Society of Parasitologists, the Southwestern Association of Parasitologists (while a professor at Texas Tech University), and served as the seventy-fourth president of the American Society of Parasitologists. Much of Larry’s history can be gleaned from Gerry Schad’s introduction of Larry as the seventy-fourth president of the American Society of Parasitologists, published in the Journal of Parasitology volume 85 (1999). Entitled ‘‘The Cure for All Diseases,’’ this address is a must read for any scientist today as he ably debunked some odd and bizarre parasitological pseudoscience still prevalent in popular culture today.