Tom received his PhD in Parasitology from the University of Queensland in 1986 for work focusing on elucidating the taxonomy and life-cycles of trematodes of Australian freshwater fishes. He then took up a CSIRO postdoctoral Fellowship in London and Canberra to work on trematodes of Australian terrestrial mammals. A QEII Fellowship followed, during which he commenced work on trematodes of marine fishes, principally of the tropical Indo-Pacific. The theme of his research for more than 30 years has been the biodiversity of trematodes – their taxonomy, evolution, host-specificity, geographical distribution and life cycles. Using a combination of morphological and molecular approaches, Tom has gone on to become one of the most significant contributors to the understanding of trematodes, and has made major contributions to knowledge of the evolution and ecology of helminths in both aquatic and terrestrial systems. Evidence of the significance of these contributions is provided in his receipt of the Bancroft-Makerras Medal for research excellence in 2007. Since receiving his PhD, Tom has published 259 manuscripts in high-quality, peer-reviewed scientific journals describing more than 300 new species and 65 genera of helminths, as well as expanding knowledge of the distribution and biology of countless other species. A feature of his work has been the elucidation of many complex novel trematode life-cycles. Tom’s research shows his clear passion for fundamental research in zoology, ecology, parasitology and the world’s natural history. He has also made significant applied contributions to his field, including characterizing the life-cycles of Brachylaima cribbi, a parasite that infects humans, and, with colleagues, that of Cardicola forsteri, a significant pathogen of ranched southern bluefin tuna.
Beyond his direct scientific contributions, Tom Cribb has made substantial contributions to the discipline of Parasitology. He has supervised to completion 77 post-graduate students, including 22 PhD candidates and 54 Honours students and continues to provide strong mentorship and guidance for many of his former students as they have gone on to develop their careers in Parasitology as post-doctoral research scientists and senior researchers within industry, the departments of primary industries, CSIRO, or as faculty members of universities within Australia and around the world. Tom has been a strong supporter, mentor and teacher in undergraduate education at all levels, and has run numerous specialist field courses on Marine Parasitology on Heron Island, North Stradbroke Island and, through the Australian Society for Parasitology outreach program, Kenya. Currently, he serves on the editorial boards of Acta Parasitologica, Folia Parasitologica, Parasite, Parasitology International and Systematic Parasitology.
Tom also has a strong history of substantial contributions to the Australian Society for Parasitology, including as a former member of the editorial board of the International Journal for Parasitology, and through service as a member of the Society’s council, as Councilor from 1995-1997 and as President-Elect, President and Vice-President from 2001-2003. Tom has also been a stalwart supporter of the Society through his research group, with students under his supervision having presented their research at every meeting of the Australian Society for Parasitology since he commenced his Lectureship position at the University of Queensland in 1992. Many of these students have since gone on to make their own contributions to the Society through service to the Council and through their own research groups.
For his major contributions to Parasitology through his scientific research and tireless mentorship of his current and former students and for his significant contributions to the Society, Thomas H. Cribb is elected Fellow of the Australian Society for Parasitology.