The people of hotel intestine

Any research lab is only as good as its people. Hotel Intestine comprises several undergraduate researchers and a research technician under the direction of Dr. Rich Clopton at Peru State College in Peru, Nebraska. In keeping with the traditions of our home institution, our program focuses on undergraduate teaching and research through hands-on training of the next generation of scientists.

Dr. Rich Clopton, PI

My research interests include the biodiversity, evolution and speciation of parasitic taxa, primarily gregarine parasites in insects. I've been working on gregarines for some 20 years now and they never fail to fascinate. Peru State College is a public 4-year comprehensive college in rural southeast Nebraska. My student colleagues are all undergraduate students. My goal is to train scientists by giving students a mentored research experience similar to what one might expect from a master's program. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in gregarines, research opportunities, recruiting one of my students for your program, or simply have questions about the program.
I was born in Alabama, educated at the University of Nebraska, did a post-doc at Texas A&M, and I've taught at Peru State College for about 18 years. I like science because it presents a never-ending series of really good questions: it gives me something interesting to think about.

Curriculum Vita

Deb Clopton, research technician

Deb is the Hotel Intestine research technician. She oversees all of the cockroach farming (we keep some 40 species in culture along with their gregarines). Deb is originally from Omaha, Nebraska and was educated at Creighton University. For some 20 years she was a research technician in livestock reproductive physiology at the University of Nebraska and brings a broad set of molecular, histological, microsurgical, and biochemical skills to the lab. Deb does most of the lab's molecular genetics work, and provides advice and training for our student researchers when REC is teaching class, in a meeting, or out of town.

Joe Fauver, researcher

Joe is a senior from Springfield, Nebraska majoring in Natural Science - Biochemistry. He wants to pursue a MS degree in Microbiology and continue on to a PhD in Epidemiology with the goal of working in infectious disease. He is currently working on the taxonomy and systematics of the two new species of gregarines infecting Henschoutedenia flexivitta, the giant lobster cockroach.
My undergraduate research has been crucial to my education at Peru State College. By participating in undergraduate research I have been exposed to areas and fields of study that non-research students do not get the opportunity to see. It has shown me truly how dynamic science is. It has shown me what being a research scientist truly entails. Going to regional and national meetings has given me opportunities to not only present my own original research, but to learn from other people actively working in Parasitology.

Shelby Steele, researcher

Shelby is a senior from Burwell, Nebraska and a double major in Natural Science - Biochemistry and Biology. She wants to advance to veterinary school and hopes to continue research as a veterinary student. She is currently working on host specificity in gregarines, with the goal of determining which gregarine life cycle stage is responsible for host specificity. She is using Blabericola migrator as a model organism and is currently trying to develop a defined medium to elicit gregarine oocyst excystation.


I find research intellectually challenging and rewarding. Research allows hands-on experience and application of the ideas, theories, and concepts learned in the classroom.

Jon Kolman, researcher

Jon is a junior from Beatrice, Nebraska majoring in Natural Science - Biochemistry. He wants to advance to veterinary school and veterinary practice. He is currently working on the taxonomy and systematics of the one new gregarine species infecting Eublaberus posticus, the orange-headed cockroach.
I enjoy science and believe its good preparation for graduate school. It's interesting to learn new techniques and going to the field for collecting work is a lot of fun.

Dave Shaffer, researcher

Dave is a sophomore from rural Nemaha County, south of Auburn, Nebraska majoring in Natural Science - Biology. He wants to pursue a MS and PhD degrees in Parasitology with the goal of continuing research and teaching as a college or university professor. Dave is currently working on the taxonomy and systematics of the two new species of gregarines infecting Blaptica dubia, the Guyana spotted cockroach.
I love science because it is rational. Every part of it is knowable. It is neither so simple as to be boring nor so irrational that it cannot be understood. Until entering the undergraduate research program at Peru State College, I did not consider science a viable career choice. I would certainly never have gone to graduate school as a science major. The realization that science is a potential career path is the greatest thing this program has given me. I really cannot think of a better way to recruit and train the young scientists who will someday shape our world than with programs like ours.