Our new paper came out this week in Functional Ecology showing that parasites begin having energetic impacts on their hosts long before infection takes hold. Using the California killifish and its brain infecting parasite Euhaplorchis californiensis, we observed major increases in metabolic rate and activity in killifish hosts in response to infectious parasites in the environment, highlighting that parasites can disrupt their host´s metabolism even before they start feeding on them.
Check out the paper here: https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1365-2435.13695?af=R
And the press release from Scripps Institution of Oceanography here: https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/new-study-finds-parasites-can-drain-energy-hosts-prior-infection
Many thanks to the organizers of the annual Society for Experimental Biology conference for putting together another amazing meeting in Seville, Spain. It was great to catch up with old friends, hear about all of the amazing new science that everyone is doing, and present some of my brand new research looking at the connections linking energy metabolism, brain serotonergic signaling, and parasite infection/exposure history. I can´t wait for Prague 2020! If you are working on parasites, disease, or immunity, please consider joining us at the 2020 SEB meeting where Sandra Binning (Univ of Montreal) and I are organizing a session titled "Parasites, disease and host immunity: Towards a mechanistic understanding of infection-induced phenotypes".
Photos by Simon Callaghan
I had a wonderful time this week visiting the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) at the University of Miami, and the Marine Sciences Program at Florida International University. Everyone was really welcoming and I had a great time geeking out on everyone´s cutting edge science as well as presenting my own work. Many thanks to my hosts Prof Nikki Traylor-Knowles (RSMAS) and Prof Alastair Harborne (FIU). Also, thanks to Javier del Campo for snapping this photo of me during my talk at RSMAS!
Many thanks to Shaun Killen for coming to Oslo for a productive visit full of paper writing/idea generating and one awesome talk at the University of Oslo on social behavior. I first met Shaun almost 10 years ago as a Masters student at the University of Glasgow. It´s great to still be working together all of these years later!
My first round of brain parts are finished running through the HPLC! Yippee! This work will allow us to better understand how infection with a brain infecting microsporidian parasite alters neurotransmitter activity, particularly the monoamines dopamine and serotonin.