Emeritus Professor Jerzy Behnke


I retired from the University of Nottingham on 30th September 2015, after 39 years of service. I now hold Associate status at the University and continue to work with and advise colleagues on a voluntary basis.

Research Interests

My current research themes continue to centre on the factors that cause variation in the prevalence and abundance of parasites and how these impinge on regulation and control of parasitic infections.

  • For over two decades my collaborators and I have been studying how parasite infections vary in wild rodents in semi-isolated eco-systems, such as the fragmented forest patches in NE Poland 1-6 and the montane wadis in St. Katherine’s protectorate in the Sinai, Egypt 7-10. A particular interest has been the relative importance of extrinsic (e.g. location, season, year) and intrinsic (e.g. host age, sex, physiology, social status) factors in generating variation in parasite burdens11-12. Many of these studies have now been published but we are still working on long-term data accumulated over expeditions to our study sites in Poland and Egypt.
  • Among our next objectives will be analysis of interactions between the different species of helminths, between haemoparasite species, and finally between helminths and haemoparasites13-14.
  • I am also working on other long-term datasets that include helminth infections in wood mice in sites in the UK, and on avian feather mites in British robins and a large range of passerine and other bird species from Portugal46.
  • Another project involves collaborators in Poland, USA and the Netherlands, focusing on the molecular phylogeny of nematode worms in the superfamily Oxyuroidea, including the genera Aspiculuris and Syphacia15.
  • I continue to work with colleagues from the Universities of Warszawa and Lublin in Poland on projects that centre on a range of parasitic infections in wild rodents.
  • I continue to work with Professor Marawan Abu-Madi from Qatar University on a range of projects.
    • In the past these have included :
      • Helminths of wood mice in the England16,17
      • Helminths of urban rats and cats in Doha18,19
      • Intestinal parasitic infections in immigrant workers in Qatar20
      • Toxoplasma and TORCH diseases among hospital patients21,22
      • Campylobacter infections in patients and in poultry meat from supermarkets23
      • Blastocystis infections in patients24

o    Our current interests include:

      • Analysis of long-term datasets reflecting parasitic infections harboured by immigrant workers to Qatar, especially those of workers in the domestic service and catering industries25-28

I continue to advise and work with Dr.  Siti Nursheena Mohd Zain, University of Malaya, in Malaysia on projects that include parasitic infections in immigrants workers and in local rodent populations29, 47.

Completed projects on which I have worked in the past, but in which I am not currently active include

    • resistance of West African Dwarf goats to parasitic infection.30,31
    • novel sources of anti-worm drugs (anthelmintics) from natural plant products such as fruits (although I still advise collaborators with whom I have worked in the past).32-34
    • biology and immunology of human hookworm infections, in both naturally infected human communities and in laboratory systems.35-38
    • design and analysis of trials evaluating anthelmintic efficacy in human populations, with a special interest in assessing the extent of resistance to chemotherapy in human GI nematodes.39-42
    • Searching for the genes that control resistance to nematode infections in mammal. 43-45


1.     Bajer A., Pawelczyk A., Behnke J.M., Gilbert F.S. & Sinski E. 2001. Factors affecting the haemoparasitic component community structure in bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) from the Mazury lake district region of Poland. Parasitology  122, 43-54.

2.     Behnke J.M., Barnard C.J., Bajer A., Bray D., Dinmore J., Frake K., Osmond J., Race T. & Sinski E. 2001.  Variation in the helminth community structure in  bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) from three comparable localities in the Mazury Lake District region of Poland.  Parasitology  123,  401-414.

3.     Behnke, J.M., Bajer A., Harris P.D., Newington L., Pidgeon E., Rowlands G., Sheriff C., Kuliś-Malkowska K., Siński E., Gilbert F.S. & Barnard C.J. 2008.  Temporal and between-site variation in helminth communities of bank voles (Myodes glareolus) from N.E. Poland. 1. Regional fauna and component community levels.  Parasitology  135,  985-997.

4.     Behnke, J.M., Bajer A., Harris P.D., Newington L., Pidgeon E., Rowlands G., Sheriff C., Kuliś-Malkowska K., Siński E., Gilbert F.S. & Barnard C.J. 2008.  Temporal and between-site variation in helminth communities of bank voles (Myodes glareolus) from N.E. Poland. 2. The infracommunity level.  Parasitology  135,  999-1018.

5.     Grzybek M., Bajer A., Bednarska M., Alsarraf M., Behnke-Borowczyk J., Harris PD, Price S., Brown GS, Osborne S-J, Siński E., Behnke JM. 2015. Long-term spatiotemporal stability and dynamic changes in helminth infracommunities of bank voles (Myodes glareolus) in NE PolandParasitology 142, 1722-1743.

6.     Bajer A., Welc-Faleciak R., Bednarska M., Mohammed Alsarraf M., Behnke-Borowczyk J., Siński E & Behnke J.M. 2014 Long-term spatiotemporal stability and dynamic changes in the haemoparasite community of bank voles (Myodes glareolus) in NE Poland. Microbial Ecology 68, 196-211.

7.     Behnke J.M., Barnard C.J., Mason N., Harris P.D., Sherif N.E., Zalat S. & Gilbert F.S.  2000. Intestinal helminths of spiny mice (Acomys cahirinus dimidiatus) from St Katherine's Protectorate in the Sinai, Egypt.  Journal of Helminthology  74,  31-44.

8.     Alsarraf M., Bednarska M., Mohallal E.M.E., Mierzejewska E.J., Behnke-Borowczyk J., Zalat S., Gilbert F., Welc-Falęciak R., Kloch A., Behnke J.M., & Bajer A. Long-term spatiotemporal stability and dynamic changes in the haemoparasite community of spiny mice (Acomys dimidiatus) in four montane wadis in the St. Katherine Protectorate, Sinai, Egypt. Parasites & Vectors 9, 195.

9.     Behnke J.M., Harris P.D., Bajer A., Barnard C.J., Sherif N., Cliffe L., Hurst J., Lamb M., Rhodes A., James M., Clifford S., Gilbert F.S. & Zalat S. 2004.Variation in the helminth community structure in spiny mice (Acomys dimidiatus) from four montane wadis in the St. Katherine region of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Parasitology 129, 379-398.

10.            Bajer A., Harris P.D., Behnke J.M., Bednarska M., Barnard C.J., Sherif N., Clifford S., Gilbert F.S., Siński E & Zalat S. 2006 Local variation of haemoparasites and arthropod vectors, and intestinal protozoa in spiny mice (Acomys dimidiatus) from four montane wadis in the St. Katherine Protectorate, Sinai, Egypt. Journal of Zoology, 270, 9-24.

11.            Barnard C.J., Sayed E., Barnard L.E., Behnke J.M., Abdel Nabi I., Sherif N., Shutt A. & Zalat S.  2003.  Local variation in helminth burdens of Egyptian spiny mice (Acomys cahirinus dimidiatus) from ecologically similar sites: relationships with hormone concentrations and social behaviour.  Journal of Helminthology  77,  197-207.

12.            Barnard C.J., Kulis K., Behnke J.M., Bajer A., Gromadzka-Ostrowska J, Stachon M. & Sinski E. 2003. Local variation in helminth burdens of bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) from ecologically similar sites:  temporal stability and relationships with hormone concentrations and social behaviour.  Journal of Helminthology  77,  185-195.

13.            Behnke J.M., Gilbert F.S., Abu-Madi M.A. & Lewis J.W. 2005. Do the helminth parasites of wood mice interact? Journal of Animal Ecology 74, 982-993.

14.            Behnke J.M., Eira C., Rogan M., Gilbert F.S., Torres J., Miquel J & Lewis J.W. 2009.  Helminth species richness in wild wood mice, Apodemus sylvaticus, is enhanced by the presence of the intestinal nematode Heligmosomoides polygyrus.  Parasitology  136,  793-804.

15.            Behnke J.M., Stewart A., Bajer A., Grzybek M., Harris P., Kinsella M., Lowe A., Smales L. 2015. Bank voles (Myodes glareolus) and house mice (Mus musculus/domesticus) in Europe are each parasitized by their own distinct species of Aspiculuris. Parasitology, 142, 1493-1505

16.            Abu-Madi M.A., Behnke J.M., Lewis J.W. & Gilbert F.S. 1998. Descriptive epidemiology             of Heligmosomoides polygyrus in Apodemus sylvaticus from three contrasting habitats in south-east England. Journal of Helminthology  72,  93-100

17.            Abu-Madi M.A., Behnke J.M., Lewis J.W. & Gilbert F.S. 2000. Seasonal and site specific variation in the component community structure of intestinal helminths in Apodemus sylvaticus from three contrasting habitats in south-east England.  Journal of Helminthology  74,  7-16.

18.            Abu-Madi M.A., Lewis J.W., Mikhail M., El-Nagger M.E. & Behnke J.M. 2001. Monospecific helminth and arthropod infections in an urban population of brown rats from Doha, Qatar.  Journal of Helminthology  75,  313-320.

19.            Abu-Madi M.A., Behnke J.M., Prabhaker K.S., Al-Ibrahim R. & Lewis J.W. 2010. Intestinal helminths of feral cat populations from urban and suburban districts of Qatar. Veterinary Parasitology  168,  284-292.

20.            Abu-Madi M.A., Behnke J.M. & Ismail A. 2008. Patterns of infection with intestinal parasites in Qatar among food handlers and housemaids from different geographical regions or origin.  Acta Tropica  106, 213-220.

21.            Abu-Madi M.A., Al-Molawi N. & Behnke J.M. 2008. Seroprevalence and epidemiological correlates of Toxoplasma gondii infections among patients referred for hospital-based serological testing in Doha, Qatar. Parasites & Vectors 1:39.

22.            Abu-Madi M.A., Behnke J.M. & Dabritz H.A. 2010. Toxoplasma gondii seropositivity and co-infection with TORCH pathogens in high-risk patients from Qatar. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 82, 626-633.

23.               Ghunaim H, Behnke JM, Aigha I, Sharma A., Doiphode SH, Deshmukh A., Abu-Madi MM. 2015. Analysis of resistance to antimicrobials and presence of virulence/stress response genes in Campylobacter isolates from patients with severe diarrhoea PLoS One – 10 e.0119268

24.            Abu-Madi M.M., Aly M., Balkhy H. & Behnke J.M. 2015. The distribution of Blastocystis subtypes in isolates from Qatar. Parasites and Vectors 8, 465 

25.            Abu-Madi M.A., Behnke J.M., Doiphode S.H. 2010. Changing trends in intestinal parasitic infections among long-term-residents and settled immigrants in Qatar. Parasites & Vectors 3: 98

26.            Abu-Madi M.A., Behnke J.M. & Doiphode S.H. 2013. Intestinal parasitic infections among long-term-residents and settled immigrants in Qatar in the period 2005 to 2011. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 88, 1185-1195.

27.            Abu-Madi M.A.M., Behnke J.M., Boughattas S., Al-Thani A., Doiphode S.H. & Deshmukh A. 2016. Helminth infections among long-term residents and settled immigrants in Qatar in the decade from 2005 to 2014: temporal trends and varying prevalence among subjects from different regional origins. Parasites & Vectors 9, 153

28.            Abu-Madi M.M., Behnke J.M., Boughattas S., Al-Thani A. & Doiphode S.H. 2016. A decade of intestinal protozoan epidemiology among settled immigrants in Qatar. BMC Infectious Diseases 16: 370.

29.            Who PY, Thong KL, Behnke JM, Lewis JW & Mohd Zain SN. 2016. Evaluation of basic knowledge on food safety and food handling practices amngst migrant food handlers in Peninsular Malaysia. Food Control 70, 64-73.

30.            Chiejina, SN., Behnke, JM, Fakae, BB. 2015 Haemonchotolerance in West African Dwarf goats. Its contribution to sustainable, anthelmintics-free helminth control in traditionally managed Nigerian dwarf goats. Parasite, 22, 7.

31.            Chiejina S.N. & Behnke J.M. 2011. The unique resistance and resilience of the Nigerian West African Dwarf goat to gastrointestinal nematode infections. Parasites & Vectors 4, 12.

32.            Stepek G., Behnke J.M., Buttle D.J. & Duce I.R. 2004. Natural plant cysteine proteinases as anthelmintics? Trends in Parasitology 20, 322-327

33.            Behnke J.M., Buttle D.J., Stepek G., Lowe A. & Duce I.R. 2008. Developing novel anthelmintics from plant cysteine proteinases.  Parasites & Vectors 1:29 (1-18).

34.            Levecke B., Buttle D.J., Behnke J.M., Dice I.R. & Vercruysse J. 2014. Cysteine proteinases from papaya (Carica papaya) in the treatment of experimental Trichuris suis infection in pigs: two randomized controlled trials. Parasites and Vectors 7: 255 (DOI: 10.1186/1756-3305-7-255).

35.            Behnke J.M. 1990. Immunity: non-hookworm models. Chapter 23, Pp 351-380. In  Hookworm Disease. Current Status and New Directions. Eds G.A.Schad & K.S.Warren. London: Taylor & Francis.

36.            Behnke J.M. 1991. Immunology. Chapter 4. In Human Parasitic Diseases Volume 4. Hookworm Infections . Pp 93-155. Eds C.H.M. Gilles & P.A.J. Ball. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

37.            Quinnell R.J. & Behnke J.M. 2013. Genetics of resistance to hookworm infection. Chapter 11, pp 184 – 209; in Parasitic Nematodes: Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Immunology, 2nd Edition (eds M. W. Kennedy & W. Harnett); CAB International, UK.

38.            Alkazmi L.M.M. & Behnke J.M. 2013. The mucosal response of hamsters exposed to weekly repeated infections with the hookworm Ancylostoma ceylancium. Journal of Helminthology 87, 309-317.

39.            De Clercq D., Sacko M., Behnke J., Gilbert F., Dorny P. & Vercruysse J. 1997. Failure of mebendazole in treatment of human hookworm infections in the Southern Region of Mali. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene  57,  25-30.

40.            Reynoldson J.A., Behnke J.M., Pallant L.J., MacNish M.G., Gilbert F. & Thompson R.A.C. 1997. Failure of pyrantel in treatment of human hookworm infections (Ancylostoma duodenale) in the Kimbereley region of north west Australia. Acta Tropica  68,  301-312.

41.            Vercruysse J., Behnke J.M., Albonico M., Ame S.M., Angebault C., Bethony J.M., Engels D., Guillard B., Hoa N.T.V., Kang G., Kattula D., Kotze A.C., McCarthy J.S., Mekonnen Z., Montresor A., Periago M.V., Sumo L., Tchuem Tchuenté L.-A., Thach D.T.C., Zeynudin A. and Levecke B. 2011. Assessment of the Anthelmintic Efficacy of Albendazole in School Children in Seven Countries where Soil-Transmitted Helminths are Endemic. PLoS Neglected Diseases 5, e948.

42.            Levecke B., Montresor A., Albonico M., Ame S.M., Behnke J.M.,  Bethony J.M., Noumedem C.D., Engels D., Guillard B., Kotze A.C., Krolewieckii A.J., McCarthy J.S., Mekonnen Z., Periago M.V., Sopheak H., Tchuem-Tchuenté L.-A., Duong T.T., Huong N.T., Ahmed Zeynudin A. & Vercruysse J. 2014. Assessment of Anthelmintic Efficacy of Mebendazole in School Children in Six Countries where Soil-Transmitted Helminths Are Endemic. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 8(10): e3204. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003204.

43.            Behnke J.M.,  Iraqi F.A., Mugambi J.M., Clifford S., Nagda S., Wakelin D., Kemp S.J., Baker R.L.  & Gibson J.P.   2006. High resolution mapping of chromosomal regions controlling resistance to gastro-intestinal nematode infections in an advanced intercross line of mice. Mammalian Genome  17,  584-597Behnke J.M., Menge D.M. and Noyes H. 2009. Heligmosomoides bakerii: a model for exploring the biology and genetics of resistance to chronic gastronintestinal nematode infections. Parasitology  136,  1565-1580.

44.            Behnke J.M., Menge D.M., Nagda S., Noyes H., Iraqi F.A., Kemp S.J., Mugambi R.J.M., Baker R.L., Wakelin D. & Gibson J.P. 2010. Quantitative trait loci for resistance to Heligmosomoides bakeri and associated immunological and pathological traits in mice: comparison of loci on chromosomes 5, 8 and 11 in F2 and F6/7 inter-cross lines of mice. Parasitology 137, 311-320.

45.            Noyes H., Githiori J., Bradley JE., Kemp S. & Behnke JM. 2015. Evidence for genes controlling resistance to Heligmosomoides bakeri on mouse chromosome 1. Parasitology, 142, 566-575.

46.            Behnke J.M., McGregor P., Cameron J., Hartley I., Shepherd M., Gilbert F., Barnard C., Hurst J., Gray S. & Wiles R.  1999. Semi-quantitative assessment of wing feather mite infestations on passerine birds from Portugal. Evaluation of the criteria for accurate quantification of mite burdens. Journal of Zoology  248, 337-347.

47.            Mohd Zain S.N., Behnke J.M. and John W. Lewis J.W. 2012.  Helminth communities from two urban rat populations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Parasites & Vectors 5:47.

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