EEB SEMINAR – 4 February

This week EEB welcomes back Queen’s alumna (PhD) Dr. Nicole Mideo of the University of Toronto who will present:

Causes and consequences of variation in malaria infections


Despite a wealth of biomedical research into the pathogenesis of infectious diseases, little is known about the basic biology of their etiological agents. For many parasites, we lack satisfying answers to questions such as: what is it specifically about the interaction between hosts and parasites that results in disease symptoms? What explains variation in disease severity across parasites species or strains? And, which factors have shaped parasite traits that determine harm to host and infectiousness? Using a combination of theory and experiments, my work has revealed processes that underlie within-host dynamics of experimental rodent malaria infections and how differences in these processes give rise to the variation observed in patterns of disease across parasite genotypes. I will present results that demonstrate the importance of resource availability and competition and show that such ‘bottom-up’ mechanisms can explain phenomena that are often attributed to immune-mediated processes. I will show that the ubiquity of multi-genotype infections can drive selection on parasites to invest in host exploitation at the expense of transmission. Finally, I will demonstrate that genetic variation within infections can hamper efforts to detect drug resistance, a growing problem in the fight against malaria.

HOST: Eckert / Bartkowska

The EEB Seminars run weekly, on Thursdays, in the EEB Lounge of the BioSciences Complex, Room 4338, from 12:30-1:30pm. Light refreshments are served starting at 12:15.

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