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Presented By: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

EEB Thursday Seminar - Hybrid: Linking ecology and epidemiology to understand pathogen evolution

Jessica Hite, Assistant Professor, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison; with affiliates in the Global Health Institute and the Department of Integrative Biology

Graphic of pathogen evolution. Graphic of pathogen evolution.
Graphic of pathogen evolution.
Our weekly seminar series featuring internal and external speakers in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology. This seminar will be in-person and livestreaming on Zoom (link this page).

Pathogen evolution presents a continuously moving target for modern medicine. Biomedical interventions like vaccines and targeted drugs are cornerstones of modern life and medicine. In isolation, however, these costly and reactive approaches aimed at eradicating bacteria concomitantly select for more virulent and resistant variants and ultimately, ease their spread. Interventions that are informed by evolution and ecology have the potential to confront the largest sources of preventable death in the US and will play a key role in the future of personalized medicine.

Metabolic adaptations precede and facilitate pathogen evolution by offsetting the fitness costs of energetically expensive traits like virulence, transmission, and drug resistance. Despite understanding the basic molecular mechanisms governing metabolic-specific adaptations to various drugs, we remain far from accurately predicting their effects on pathogen evolution to tailor metabolic-based therapeutics. My research seeks to close this gap by developing and empirically testing multi-scale mathematical models to understand how metabolic adaptations influence the fitness landscape and evolutionary trajectory of pathogens.

Contact for Zoom password at least 2 hours prior to event.

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