Proposal Number: DEB-0520468
Proposal Title: Parasite Induced Susceptibility and Transmission in a
Seasonal Environment: Micro and Macro Interactions and the Dynamics of the Parasite Community of Mice
Parasites, by definition, cause their host harm and so the community of parasites within an individual host can be expected to interact with one another indirectly through the host's immune system. Whether presence of one parasite is beneficial or detrimental to another is a crucial, but as yet overlooked, factor in disease control and dynamics. This project will investigate how a community of parasites is shaped at the individual level and the consequences this has for disease dynamics at the population level using a mixture of experiments and mathematical modeling.
Not all individuals are equal; they differ in their ability to fight and spread infections. Importantly this can give rise to certain individuals being accountable for the majority of disease transmission; super-spreaders. These super-spreaders may have predictable characteristics that allow for thier identification and so target disease control most effectively. However, the mechanisms that create super-spreaders thus far have been elusive.
We explore the idea that a super-spreader may be a function of the parasites it harbors and the interactions that occur between them. As such we will tease apart the inherent differences between individuals that lead to changes in susceptibility and exposure to parasites whilst also determining how infection mediated through an individual's immune system will shape the parasite community. These interactions will be investigated in a seasonal environment since the availability of parasitic infective stages and therefore the community structure may be a function of the highly variable development and survival rates of different parasites at different temperatures.
Insights gained from this project on the mechanisms that determine parasite community dynamics should help researchers indentify important factors in disease emergence, determine why some parasites may be more prevalent than others, and identify the characteristics that create super-spreaders. The project will use a mouse-human pathogen system to infer disease dynamics at the human-pathogen level. The program will support training of post-doc, graduate and undergraduate students.
|Effective start/end date||10/1/05 → 9/30/11|
- National Science Foundation: $1,293,875.00