Gideon Erkenswick, PhD


Dr. Erkenswick is originally from the Chicago-land area. He completed his B.A. at Grinnell college with a major in Sociology, and then turned his sites toward wildlife research. In 2009, he co-founded Primates Peru, a not-for-profit organization to help sustain longterm research of a natural primate community in Southeastern, Peru. The NPO continues today, known as Field Projects International, and he currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors. Between 2011 and 2017 he completed a doctorate in ecology, evolution and systematics at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) in the laboratory of Patricia Parker. His research revolved around the intestinal and blood parasite ecology of two nonhuman primate host populations. Currently, he is a post-Doctoral Research Associate at Washington University in St. Louis with membership in MtB pathogensis laboratory directed by Dr. Jennifer Philips and a virology laboratory directed by Dr. David Wang. His current work spans host immune cell transcriptomics and viral pathogen surveillance in widlife. For more information, view his webpage here. When he is not working he is spending time with family and taking care of many house plants.

Selected Publications:

  • Gerson JR, Szponar N, Almeyda Zambrano A, Bergquist B, Broadbent E, Driscoll CT, Erkenswick G, Evers DC, Fernandez LE, Hsu-Kim H, Inga G, Lansdale KN, Marchese MJ, Martinez A, Moore C, Pan WK, Pérez Purizaca R, Sánchez V, Silman M, Ury EA, Vega C, Watsa M, Bernhardt ES. Amazon forests capture high levels of atmospheric mercury pollution from artisanal gold mining. Nature. 2022 Jan 28; 3(1): 1-10. doi:
  • Aliaga-Samanez G., Lescano J., Quevedo M., Watsa M., Calderón J., Erkenswick G. First detection of pathogenic Leptospira among free-ranging neotropical non-human primates in the Peruvian Amazon lowland forest. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases. 2021 April 25. doi:
  • Watsa M, Erkenswick G, Prost S, Davis EO, Moore C, Kubiski S, Witte C, Ogden R, Meredith A, Ryder OA, Steiner CC, Philips JA, Owen MA. Rigorous wildlife disease surveillance. Science. 2020 July 09; 369(6500):145-147. doi:
  • Erkenswick, G.A., Watsa, M., Gozalo, A.S., Dudaie, S., Bailey, L., Muranda, K., Kuziez, A., Parker, P. (2019) A multi-year
    survey of helminths from the gastrointestinal tract of wild saddleback (
    Leontocebus weddelli) and emperor (Saguinus imperator) tamarins. American Journal of Primatology 81(12):e23063.
  • Erkenswick, G.A., Watsa, M., Pacheco, M.A., Escalante, A.A. and Parker, P.G., 2017. Chronic Plasmodium brasilianum infections in wild Peruvian tamarins. PLoS One, 12(9).