The Department of Biology at the University of Utah is home to the Price Institute for Parasite Research (PIPeR), which is largely focused on the study of ectoparasitic insects (but we also work on vertebrate endoparasites, including avian malaria). The centerpiece of PIPeR is a collection of 1200+ species of slide-mounted lice, representing about two thirds of the 301 recognized genera, making it the fourth most diverse collection in North America (top 10 worldwide). The collection is invaluable because of the consistent quality of its specimens, most of which were prepared by Dr. Roger Price, a leading authority on the systematics of lice. PIPeR also contains an extensive collection of 40,000 slides of fleas and lice assembled by the late Robert Elbel. It houses equipment for microscopy and the creation and analysis of digital images. This facility, in conjunction with the Department of Biology's SEM unit, allows for rapid recording of morphometric data on a variety of scales. PIPeR has facilities for preparing new slide-mounts and remounting slides. It houses one of the largest frozen ectoparasite tissue collections in the world, consisting of 7,000+ specimens from 250+ host species. PIPeR also has an associated molecular lab with full capabilities for DNA extraction, PCR, and the preparation of material for the University of Utah's central automated sequencing facility. PIPeR will serve as a base for research and training in ecto-parasitology well into the new century.
Database for PIPeR (.xls file)
Photographs of Specimens in PIPeR
Publications on Phthiraptera