Once infected, a host can attempt to kill the infecting pathogen (resistance) and/or minimize per-pathogen reductions in fitness (tolerance). Although inflammatory responses like fever, free-radical production, and localized swelling can help clear a variety of parasites (i.e., increase resistance), these responses have a high potential to damage a host's own tissues (i.e., decrease tolerance). In collaboration with Dana Hawley and Rami Dalloul at Virginia Tech, I am investigating the mechanistic and evolutionary relationships among inflammatory responses, tolerance, and pathogen transmission in house finches infected with Mycoplasma gallisepticum, a bacterial pathogen that first jumped from poultry into wild songbirds in the 1990s. Read more about Inflammatory Responses
In mammals, worms that live in the digestive tract can bias their hosts' immune systems away from inflammatory responses. Our data suggest that such processes could help drive differences in immune responses like fever and sickness behaviors (lethargy) in song sparrows. For her MS work Grace Vaziri performed field experiments to determine if this is the case. Read more about Impacts of gut parasites on the acute phase immune response
I'm always looking for bright, enthusiastic people to come on board. However, funding is always tight.
Prospective Postdocs and Graduate Students:
Email me a cover letter about your interests and experience, the let's talk about existing and future funding possibilities.
Drop me a line if our work is of interest to you and we'll chat about potential ways to get involved. Read more about Join the Lab