Evolutionary and Environmental Biology Seminar

By Prof. Edze R. Westra,


The Evolutionary Ecology Of Host Defence And Counter-Defence

Date &Time:

April 11, 2022


Prof. Edze R. Westra, University of Exeter, UK
The Evolutionary Ecology Of Host Defence And Counter-Defence
Organisms can evolve different defences in response to pathogen infection. My lab studies the interactions between bacteria and their viruses (bacteriophage, phage) to understand how environmental variables drive the evolution of different defence strategies. The bacteria that we study, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, is an important opportunistic human pathogen that a number of different defence strategies to protect itself against phage infection, including an adaptive immune system (known as CRISPR-Cas) and various innate defences (e.g. phage receptor mutation). I will discuss how and why certain environmental variables tip the balance in the evolution of these defences and their long-term evolutionary and coevolutionary consequences. I will also discuss how being able to predict and manipulate the evolution of phage resistance can help to optimize the therapeutic application of phage.