11:00 Tuesday 22nd October
Room 208, 2nd floor,
720 Cumberland Street
"Finding the drivers of viral disease emergence”
Emerging infectious diseases are often characterised by host-switching events in which a pathogen jumps from its original host to infect a novel species. The plethora of viruses in existence, including the vast number that are yet to be classified, presents the potential for devastating cross-species transmission events, as exemplified by the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa following a virus species jump from bats to humans. With changes in land use and increasing urbanisation, the frequency with which pathogens jump species barriers to emerge in new hosts is expected to rise. The potential for viruses to jump and spread within novel hosts is becoming increasingly apparent, yet we have only a limited understanding of the mechanisms that enhance or inhibit virus emergence. This talk will focus on my research into the evolutionary processes that might allow novel pathogens to adapt to new hosts and spread through populations; and the potential barriers to host adaptation.