Study systems include
I work in the following systems to address the above interests:
Mouse and rodent malaria (Plasmodium chabaudi and P. yoelii) system
Two other pathogens include entomopathogenic fungi (i.e. Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliea) and Escherichia coli
A suite of non-pathogenic immune challenges that includes CM negatively-charged Sephadex beads, Fluospheres, and heat-killed E. coli
Murdock, C. C., Paaijmans, K. P., Bell, A. S., King, J. G., Hillyer, J. F., Read, A. F., and M. B. Thomas. 2012. Complex effects of temperature on mosquito immune function. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B 279: 3357-3366.
1. Ecological Immunology
I am interested in the ecology and evolution of host-parasite interactions. In particular, my research investigates how environmental factors (e.g. temperature, nutrition, humidity) affect the outcome of parasite-host associations either through direct impacts on parasite growth and development within the host and / or through indirect effects on host immunity, physiology, and condition. Recent research explores the hypothesis that temperature is an important environmental driver of geographic variation in resistance and susceptibility of insect vector populations to vector-borne parasites. My current work involves empirical and statistical approaches to better understand the effects of temperature on a suite of key innate immune responses and overall vector competence of the Asian malaria vector, Anopheles stephensi.
2. Stress and Immune Interactions
Vertebrates and invertebrates both rely heavily on three communicating physiological super systems (the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems) to coordinate appropriate physiological and behavioral responses to a particular life history stage, external environmental stressor, or to parasitic challenge. Historically, researchers have approached the study of the nervous and endocrine systems in an integrated fashion. Surprisingly, the immune system of most organisms has been studied in isolation from these other physiological systems, and until relatively recently has been thought to be impervious to environmental change. I am interested in exploring how environmental factors influence the communication among these three physiological systems, and in particular, how these physiological interactions influence the fitness of insect vectors and their ability to transmit vector-borne parasites.