infection response

Inflammatory Responses

Pathogen load vs fitness graphOnce 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

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