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Microbial Community Dynamics and Disease: From Within-host to Global Scales


On Thursday, Apr 18 @ 11am ET, join Cary Institute for a virtual scientific seminar by Dr. Amy Sweeny, University of Sheffield.

Climate change, urbanization, and variable environments are constant and increasing challenges for natural populations. The dynamic communities of microorganisms (the microbiome) that reside within individuals are likewise susceptible to these pressures and have pervasive effects on host biology and functioning. However, much understanding of microbiome effects on health is from model systems where host and environmental variation is strictly controlled, and as such are an underappreciated component of wildlife resilience to global change.

In this talk, Dr Sweeny will first present insights from empirical and computational approaches in wild sheep and humans to highlight the processes by which environmental perturbations alter gut microbiome dynamics, and the consequences for host fitness. Next, she will outline how a similar within-host lens can be applied to parasite communities, presenting examples from wild sheep and mice that demonstrate how interactions between pathogens are sensitive to environmental variation, and impacts of these interactions at the population level. Finally, she will present a broader perspective on linking within-host ecosystems with global ecosystems, working toward resolving the complex interactions that underpin the evolving landscape of infectious diseases in our rapidly changing world.

Free and open to all. Registration required via Eventbrite.