The Illingworth group work on rapid evolutionary processes as may be observed in pathogen populations and in evolutionary experiments. We focus on the development of statistical models for evaluating genome sequence data collected from populations. In addition to work on population genetic theory and bioinformatics, recent topics of work have included the development of models for characterising the within-host evolution of influenza populations, and for identifying alleles responsible for virulence and immune interactions in malaria parasites.
The Pathogen Evolution Group, based in the Department of Zoology, work on virus evolution, in particular the genetic history of human flu epidemics.
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.
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?
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.