Study systems include
Pollitt, L.C., Churcher, T.S., Dawes, E.J., Khan, S.M.,
Sajid, M., Basáñez, M.G., Colegrave, N., & Reece, S.E. Costs of
crowding for the transmission of malaria parasites. Evolutionary Applications. In press
Pollitt, L.C., Reece, S.E., Mideo, N., Nussey, D.H. & Colegrave, N. (2012) The Problem of Autocorrelation in Parasitology. PLoS Pathogens. 8, e1002590
Reece, S.E., Pollitt, L.C., Colegrave, N. & Gardner, A. (2011) The meaning of death: evolution and ecology of apoptosis in protozoan parasites. PLoS Pathogens. 7(12): e1002320
Pollitt, L.C., MacGregor, P., Matthews, K. & Reece, S.E. (2011) Malaria and trypanosome transmission: different parasites, same rules? Trends in Parasitology 27, 197-203
Pollitt, L.C., Mideo, N., Drew, D.R., Colegrave, N., Schneider, P. & Reece, S.E. (2011) Competition and the Evolution of Reproductive Restraint in Malaria Parasites. American Naturalist 177, 358-367
Graham, A.L., Shuker, D.M., Pollitt, L.C., Auld, S.K.J.R., Wilson, A.J. & Little, T.J. (2011) Fitness consequences of immune responses: strengthening the empirical framework for ecoimmunology. Functional Ecology 25, 5-17
Pollitt, L.C., Colegrave, N., Khan, S., Sajid, M. & Reece, S.E. (2010) Investigating the evolution of PCD in malaria parasites: the importance of ecology. Invited review for Parasites and Vectors 3:105
Haine, E.R., Pollitt, L.C., Moret, Y., Siva-Jothy, M.T. & Rolff, J. (2008) Temporal patterns in immune responses to a range of microbial insults (Tenebrio molitor). Journal of Insect Physiology 54, 1090-1097.
My interests are in applying an evolutionary ecology approach to understanding how parasites interact with each other and hosts to shape patterns of infection and disease. Mixed-species and mixed-strain infections are common and it is becoming increasingly apparent that parasite interactions within the host environment can have important implications for the severity and transmission of disease. However, while parasite within-host ecology is increasingly receiving attention, continuing on to examine the links to between-host processes is still often neglected. I am interested in how competition between different strains of vector-borne parasites shape parasite dynamics both within vertebrate hosts and insect vectors, and how these dynamics play out across scales to determine disease transmission and parasite evolution.
While working in CIDD, I have expanded my interest in parasite within-host ecology and life history traits to consider how these traits and interactions will influence the evolution and spread of drug resistance. We are gaining an increased understanding of how antimicrobial treatment regimes can influence the density of resistant parasites within the vertebrate host. For example, there is mounting evidence that aggressive treatment regimes can allow competitive release of resistant strains by clearing susceptible competitors from infections. The next step is to try and understand the mechanisms of within-host competition and how this links to between-host transmission.