What We Do

Despite centuries of biomedical research into infectious diseases, there are no satisfying answers to important ecological and evolutionary questions such as, why do some parasites lead to severe disease and others lead only to mild symptoms? To what extent does variation in parasite traits contribute to differences in disease severity and infectiousness, and what factors have shaped those traits? How will parasites evolve in response to medical interventions or environmental change and associated shifts in host, vector, and disease distributions? The importance of finding answers to these questions is highlighted by the fact that infectious diseases account for 1 in 6 deaths worldwide, and 1 in 2 deaths in children under five (WHO 2008). It is clear that science must move beyond traditional approaches for studying disease. Our research integrates theoretical and empirical approaches to study the evolutionary ecology of parasites and offers new perspectives that can inform control and intervention strategies.

Current research themes include: