October 10 2012

12:00 LSB 2320

Jamie Lloyd-Smith
Dept of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

Toward an Integrative Theory of Pathogen Emergence Across Species Boundaries


The emergence of novel pathogens occurs primarily by changes in host species range. Zoonoses, i.e. infectious diseases that transmit from animals to humans, account for over 60% of all human pathogens and 75% of emerging pathogens. Well-known examples of human pathogens that emerged from animals include HIV, SARS, and Spanish influenza; zoonotic pathogens such as Leptospira interrogans (the agent of leptospirosis) and West Nile virus continue to spill over from animals to humans. Yet despite the importance of these diseases to human and animal health, many aspects of their ecological and evolutionary dynamics remain poorly understood because key findings remain isolated in disparate academic fields. My research program aims to build an integrated theory of pathogen emergence across species boundaries, by combining mathematical models with data from focal systems to understand fundamental principles of disease transmission and adaptation. In this talk I will describe recent progress in three complementary research projects, which overlap to span all phases of the zoonotic emergence process. I will focus on the analysis of human monkeypox in central Africa, aiming to untangle the contributions of spillover versus human-to-human transmission and assess the risk that this pathogen may emerge to fill the niche left vacant by smallpox eradication. I will summarize on-going studies of the reservoir dynamics of leptospirosis in California sea lions (and Channel Island foxes), and theoretical work on the cross-scale evolutionary dynamics of viruses introduced to new host species.











































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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