Working Group in Pathogenic and Commensal Organisms
Organizers are Lyric Bartholomay and Brian Lazzaro. Diseases vectored by insects and other arthropods impose tremendous public health burden on human populations. In the course of transmission, the vector is itself also infected by the pathogen, so factors that alter immunological status of the vector no doubt shape disease transmission. The proposed Catalysis Meeting would bring principles established in the ecological immunology of wildlife systems to bear on vector biological systems. These principles include the premise that immune function and evolution is constrained by competing physiological demands on the host, and that environmental conditions impact immunological and physiological state in ways that modulate pathogen establishment and transmission. The meeting will specifically focus on the role of genetic variability in the vector. Of particular interest is understanding how genetic matches and mismatches between host and parasite predict disease infection outcome, how abiotic environmental conditions including pesticide applications can alter genetically-determined host susceptibility to infection, and the role that secondary infections and associations with commensals play in altering immunological status. Investigators at all career stages will be invited to participate in the Catalysis Meeting, with the ultimate objectives of producing a synthetic and coherent road map for future study and establishing a research network that has the capacity to address the most pressing questions.