The Ecology and Evolution of Infections and Disease Program covers a variety of different areas, some of which are listed below.
Climate Ecosystems and Disease
Energy, Environment and Economics are linked by the role of climate in driving infectious disease dynamics. Interaction between climate warming and pathogen outbreaks are a threat to human health and impact biodiversity and the environment. Projected increases in global temperatures driven by increasing carbon dioxide are expected to trigger new outbreaks of disease in diverse communities and biomes. Our Disease and Climate Network at Cornell University will conduct research and promote external collaborations to address the critical challenges of climate change on species diversity, conservation and health.
See our dedicated page on climate ecosystems and disease.
Coral Reef Health and Ocean Biology
The health of coral reefs and the role of infectious diseases and climate change in the health and maintenance of the reefs. We are also conducting studies of the microbial composition of the oceans, examining for the presence of pathogens, viruses and phage sequences.
Pathogens and effects on plant populations
These studies are examining the roles of plant viruses and fungi on the health of plants and their ecosystems. In some studies the role of the pathogens play a role in modifying the course of the disease that develops, as is seen for the fungus causing chestnut blight in Michael Milgroom’s laboratory.
Role of immunity against infectious diseases
While pathogens are a major component of the diseases that develop, the host responses are also important in determining the final outcome of the infection. Most organisms develop immune responses that conteract and sometimes control the pathogen, or the disease that it causes. In this program we are investigating the roles of innate and adaptive immunity in invetebrates in Brian Lazarro’s and Drew Harvell’s laboratory (insects and coral), as well as vertebrates in Kelly Zamudio’s laboratory.
Viral evolution and change in animals and populations
Here we are investigating the variation of viruses that allows them to shift in their natural host ranges. On model being studied in Colin Parrish’s laboratory is the canine parvovirus which emegered in 1978 as a host range variant of the feline panleukopenia virus, and which has been evolving for the last 30+ years.