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Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease

Ecology and evolution of infectious disease aims to understand and predict the dynamics of host-pathogen interactions in time and space and to explore the outcomes of their co-evolutionary arms race.
Italics = secondary appointment in EEB, can serve as graduate co-chair only

Meghan Duffy

Meghan Duffy's research focuses on the ecology and evolution of host-parasite interactions. She is especially interested in the intersection of ecology and evolutionary biology, including how rapid evolution affects ecological host-parasite dynamics, and how ecological context influences host-parasite evolution. Her research uses a combination of observational studies of natural populations and communities, manipulative experiments in the lab and field, and mathematical models.

Melissa Duhaime  

Melissa Duhaime focuses on marine microbiology, spanning two themes: (i) ocean plastic-microbe associations and (ii) marine virus (meta)genomics. For the first, she investigates the role of microbes in the fate of marine plastics, and the role of plastics in marine microbial community structure and function in natural (N. Pacific Gyre, North Sea) and engineered (Biosphere2 Ocean) systems. For the second, she uses genomic tools to investigate evolution and ecology of ocean viruses (phages) and their microbial hosts, with particular interest in the role of nutrient limitation on infection dynamics and virus-host evolution.

Timothy James

Timothy James' research addresses mating and recombination in fungi using molecular techniques. He particularly focuses on the evolution of fungal mating incompatibility systems, as well as the evolution of alternatives to traditional sexual reproduction such as heterokaryosis and mitotic recombination. He studies organisms including mushrooms, water molds and pathogens such as the agent of amphibian chytridiomycosis.

Aaron King

Aaron King's research focuses primarily on the ecology and evolution of infectious disease. His research also includes modeling specific systems, analyzing models and data using sophisticated mathematical, computational and statistical tools, and developing general methods to advance theoretical ecology and evolutionary biology.

Annette Ostling

Annette Ostling's research explores niche versus neutral structure in population and communities, linking functional trait diversity with coexistence mechanisms, especially in forests. She also studies the robustness of coexistence and limits to similarity, the role of competitive interactions in range shifts under climate change, macroecological patterns and the influence of spatial structure on the evolution of species interactions and communities. Her interests also include the impacts of spatial structure on the evolution of pathogen transmission and virulence.

Tom Schmidt

Thomas Schmidt's laboratory is focused on the physiology and ecology of microbes. We routinely develop and apply nucleic acid-based methods to explore and understand patterns of diversity and function of microbial communities, and to guide cultivation efforts. Our research is currently focused on two microbial communities: those found in terrestrial environments and are involved in the flux of greenhouse gases, and microbes that constitute mammalian microbiome. As we develop a better appreciation for the relationship between the structure and function of these microbial communities, we are conducting research to uncover fundamental principles that explain distribution patterns of microbial populations.

Luis Zaman

Luis Zaman’s research takes a deeply interdisciplinary approach to understanding why evolution appears so relentless and creative. His lab uses experimental evolution of two very different model systems: 1) populations of self-replicating computer programs or digital organisms, and 2) microbial communities consisting of bacteria and bacteriophage (viruses that infect bacteria). The common thread running through his broad research interests is understanding the evolution of diversity, complexity, and evolvability, and how the interplay between ecology and (co)evolution drives these phenomena.