Parasite and pathogen genetics

The Pathogen Evolution Group, based in the Department of Zoology, work on virus evolution, in particular the genetic history of human flu epidemics.   Simon Frost, in the Cambridge Vet School, uses mathematical and statistical modeling to understanding the dynamics and evolution of infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis C and influenza.

Frank Jiggins’ group, based in the Department of Genetics, work on the genetics of host-parasite coevolution mainly in Drosophila.  This has provided striking evidence for rapid evolution of genes involved in immunity in the Drosophila genome.  The Ladybird Genetics Group, also in Genetics, work on the  adaptation of parasites to populations of the invasive Harlequin ladybird.

Lucy Weinert’s group at the Department of Veterinary Medicine study the ecology and genomics of bacterial pathogens. The group works on the evolution of virulence, bacterial host switching, antimicrobial resistance and vaccine development. Some recent questions include:

Why do bacterial pathogens have small genomes?

What are the ecological predictors of host switching success?

Which genomic changes accompany bacteria adapting to new hosts?

How well does bacterial genotype predict antibiotic resistance phenotype?

What is the genetic basis of bacterial virulence?

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