Oliver Balmer

Universität Basel,
Zoologisches Institut
Vesalgasse 1
CH-4051 Basel


+41 (0)61 267 03 76

+41 (0)61 267 03 62


Oliver Balmer

PostDoc in the group of Prof. Dieter Ebert

Current research

My research investigates the consequences of multiple strain infections for infection dynamics, host response, parasite life-history evolution and epidemiology in Trypanosoma brucei, a protozoan parasite causing human sleeping sickness and animal Nagana in sub-Saharan Africa. I am using strains labeled with fluorescence genes of different colours to experimentally address these questions. I am also using population genetic and phylogenetic approaches to study the distribution and dispersal patterns of T. brucei and to investigate the role of multiple strain infections in the field.

I also study the recolonization dynamics of Caribbean stony corals (Montastraea franksi) with different genotypes of their obligate endosymbionts (zooxanthellae, Symbiodinium sp.) after coral bleaching. This experiment (a collaboration with Nancy Knowlton) is conducted in a coral reef at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

And then there are the Daphnia just waiting for multiple strain infections...

Curriculum vitae

1993 B.Sc. Environmental Natural Sciences, ETH Zürich (Switzerland)
1998 M.Sc. Biology, University of Basel (Switzerland)
2006 Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University (USA)

download CV


  • Balmer, O., S. C. Stearns, et al. (2009). "Intraspecific competition between co-infecting parasite strains enhances host survival in African trypanosomes." Ecology 90(12): 3367-3378.   (download PDF)
  • Balmer, O. and A. Caccone. 2008. Multiple-strain infections of Trypanosoma brucei across Africa. Acta Tropica 107:275-279.   (download PDF)
  • Balmer, O. 2007. A review of Evolutionary Ecology of Parasites, by Rober Poulin. Evolution and Development 9:517-519.   (download PDF)
  • Brun, R. & Balmer, O. (2006): New developments in human African trypanosomiasis. Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases 19 (5): 415-420   (download PDF)
  • Balmer, O. & Palma, C., MacLeod, A., Caccone, A. (2006): Characterization of di-, tri-, and tetranucleotide microsatellite markers with perfect repeats for Trypanosoma brucei and related species. Molecular Ecology Notes 6 (2): 508-510   (download PDF)
  • Balmer, O. & Tostado, C. (2006): New fluorescence markers to distinguish co-infecting Trypanosoma brucei strains in experimental multiple infections. Acta Tropica 97: 94-101   (download PDF)
  • Balmer, O. (2002): Species lists in ecology and conservation: Abundances matter. Conservation Biology 16 (4): 1160-1161   (download PDF)
  • Balmer, O. & Erhardt, A. (2000): Consequences of succession on extensively grazed grasslands for Central European butterfly communities: Rethinking conservation practices. Conservation Biology 14 (3): 746-757   (download PDF)
  • Balmer, O. & Erhardt, A. (2000): Gesteigerte Tagfalterdiversität durch 10-jährige Verbrachung von Magerweiden im Nordwestschweizer Jura. Mitteilungen der Deutschen Gesellschaft für allgemeine und angewandte Entomologie 12: 259-262.
  • Balmer, O. (1999): Die Schmetterlingsfauna an mageren Standorten des Jura in verschiedenen Stadien der Verbrachung. Mitteilungen der Schweizerischen Entomologischen Gesellschaft 72: 303-314.