2018 Workshop


Location/Date: Glasgow, Scotland, May 28-29, 2018, with an opening dinner on May 27 (before EEID meeting May 30-June 1).

Leader: Clay Cressler, University of Nebraska

To Apply: Submit your CV and a cover letter (1 page maximum) describing your interest in participating in this workshop. Please note that we are especially interested in contributions from researchers working on any aspect of immunity, from traditional mechanistic immunology, to wild immunology, to comparative immunology, and mathematicians working on developing models of the immune-parasite interaction. Please submit your application to: ccressler2@unl.edu by 31 March 2018.

The planned attendance for this year’s workshop is ~25 participants.

** Accepted applicants will receive funding for transportation to/from Glasgow, accommodation and meals during the workshop, and the EEID conference registration fee. We strongly recommend early registration for EEID, as registration is capped. All costs will be reimbursed after the workshop and meeting.**

Q. Caudron & R. Garnier
Inflammatory loci in sheep liver; Q. Caudron & R. Garnier

The immune response is perhaps the primary arbiter of a host’s interaction with its parasites and pathogens, and its costs and benefits strongly influence the fitness of the host. It is well-established that the immune response is influenced by both the host’s external environment (e.g., host diet, social interactions) and by its internal environment (e.g., interactions with other metabolic pathways, coinfection). At both scales, the environment creates trade-offs between immunity and aspects of organismal life history and physiology. The goal of this workshop is to bring together behavioral ecologists, disease ecologists, immunologists, and mathematical biologists to understand the emergence and implications of these trade-offs for ecological interactions, epidemiological dynamics, and, ultimately, the coevolution of the immune system with diverse parasites and pathogens. Researchers with relevant datasets, mathematical models, or statistical tools will give short talks and work in breakout sessions organized around focal questions (see below), working to integrate the insights from ecological and mechanistic immunology and develop general mathematical and statistical models. Additionally, several workshop attendees will give talks during the EEID session, “Within-host dynamics: co-infection to wild immunity.”

Focal Questions will be generated at the meeting based on participant interest, but topics of interest (to the organizer, at the very least) include questions like:

–     How does the immune response shape the evolution of parasite traits? Simple theory suggests different evolutionary implications for resistance versus tolerance, and for anti-growth versus anti-transmission resistance, but to what extent can immune functions be so simply characterized?

–     What are the primary physiological and immunological determinants of infection duration, and can we develop general mathematical models capable of generating realistic distributions of infection duration, from acute to chronic?Does the genetic and environmental variability in immunity observed in nature help explain the distribution of parasite intensity across hosts?

–     Can we distinguish when a strong immune response indicates that the host is successfully regulating a parasitic infection? Can we distinguish when a high parasite burden indicates that the host is paying a high cost of infection?

–     Does immune function evolve to minimize the cost/benefit ratio per infection, or across the host’s lifetime? How does variation in infection risk shape this evolution?

–     Are the immune dynamics of single infections predictive of the immune dynamics of coinfections? Is the mismatch between lab-based and field-based measures of immune variability explainable in terms of the frequency of coinfection in wild animals?

–     Is there a generic immune killing function, akin to the standard density-dependent transmission function that can be used as a default assumption in immune-parasite interaction models?