February 6 2018

11:00 158 HH

This seminar is sponsored by EEB QC Bio

Sarah Cobey
Department of Ecology and Evolution
University of Chicago

Pathogen diversity and the immunological niche


All organisms interact with microbes, and hosts must strike a balance between promoting the growth of beneficial symbionts while suppressing the growth of pathogens. Such antagonistic interactions can give rise to well studied arms races, but it is less appreciated that this dynamic can play out in other ways, and also that it plays out over multiple temporal and spatial scales. Using three common pathogens of humans as examples, I show that strikingly different patterns of diversity arise depending on the immunological niche the pathogen inhabits. These patterns provide support for multiple theories of coexistence and also the interplay of deterministic and stochastic processes in driving diversity, and they serve as a foundation for models of symbiont communities. But I argue that progress on understanding the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of antigenically variable pathogens, which are ubiquitous, will require better understanding of the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of the immune system itself. Such understanding is not only practical for designing vaccines to reshape immunological niches but also useful for testing the limits of prediction in ecology and evolution.
































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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