Gene earned his Ph.D. degree in Zoology in 1975 from Oregon State University. His dissertation concerned blood parasites of Oregon marine fishes and he became interested in marine leeches because they are the vectors for fish blood parasites. Gene was trained in leech morphology by Roy Sawyer and later collaborated extensively with Marvin Meyer, a noted leech expert. The marine leeches of the Oregon coast were virtually unstudied and Gene described many new genera and species from that region. In 1977 Gene joined the faculty at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, in Gloucester Point, VA where he has remained ever since. Although his primary research focus has been on diseases of oysters, Gene has maintained a strong interest in fish leech taxonomy throughout his career, and is now one of the few taxonomic experts who is competent in the world-wide fish leech fauna. He has collected extensively along both coasts of North America as well as in New Zealand and Australia and has described 4 genera and 16 species of fish leeches.