Study systems include
Bordetella bronchiseptica in rabbits
Bordetella pertussis and parapertussis in mice
Long GH, Chan BH, Allen JE, Read AF & Graham AL (2008) Experimental manipulation of immune-mediated disease and its fitness costs for rodent malaria parasites. BMC Evolutionary Biology 8:128.
Long GH, Chan BHK, Allen JE, Read AF & Graham AL (in press) Blockade of TNF receptor 1 reduces disease severity but increases parasite transmission during Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi infection. International Journal for Parasitology 38: 1073-81.
Long GH, Chan BHK, Allen JE, Read AF & Graham AL (2006) Parasite genetic diversity does not influence TNF-mediated effects on the virulence of primary rodent malaria infections. Parasitology 133, 673-684.
My research focuses on the within-host ecology and transmission dynamics of infectious disease, in the context of host immune pressure.
Particular interests include:
Immunopathology and pathogen virulence evolution
Abundant biomedical literature demonstrates that immune responses can cause pathology ("immunopathology"). Yet few evolutionary biologists have considered how such a ubiquitous cause of disease may alter the evolution of pathogen virulence. Using a well established model of Bordetella pertussis and B. parapertussis infection in mice, I will test the assumptions and predictions of evolutionary theory.
- Do pathogens experience increased or decreased transmission when hosts suffer from immunopathology?
- Does the induction of immunopathology, as well as its effect upon transmission, vary by pathogen genotype?
- Does the induction of such immune responses affect how co-infecting lineages in a host compete?
Population dynamics and transmission
Transmission — the rate at which susceptible hosts are converted into infected hosts — is the driving force in the dynamics of any infectious disease. However, transmission has proven difficult to study effectively in both laboratory and field settings. Focusing on a rabbit cohort in which Bordetella bronchiseptica infection is endemic, I will investigate the molecular basis for Bordetella transmission. I am particularly interested in the role of host immunity as a transmission determinant.
The long term goal of this project will be to elucidate the transmission dynamics of multiple lineages of Bordetella bronchiseptica and the interactions among these lineages.