In this short article for Science, Felicia Keesing and her colleague Rick Ostfeld synthesize recent research that shows how and why areas with high diversity frequently have lower rates of transmission of infectious diseases of wildlife, humans, and plants. This is particularly compelling because it aligns environmental conservation with public health.
Citation: Keesing, F., & Ostfeld, R. S. (2015). Is biodiversity good for your health?.Science, 349(6245), 235-236.
Full version of the paper can be found at Researchgate.
The spread of antibiotic resistance in human pathogens is one of the most urgent challenges in public health today. While the discovery of new drugs remains central in our fight against microbial infections, our ability to understand how antibiotic resistance evolves in the first place is crucial in the development of sound public health policies. In this Special Issue published in Evolutionary Applications, Dr. Perron, acting as guest-editor, present a collection of articles discussing the different contributions of evolutionary biology and ecology to help solving the current antibiotic crisis.
Web link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eva.2015.8.issue-3/issuetoc
It was known for some time that Xenopus tadpoles try to avoid collisions with objects that approach them, but until now it was not quite clear what part of the brain detects potential collisions and makes the tadpole change its swimming trajectory. In this study Dr. Arseny Khakhalin shows that most likely this calculation happens in the midbrain region called the optic tectum.
Citation: Khakhalin AS, Koren D, Gu J, Xu H, Aizenman CD. (2014). Excitation and inhibition in recurrent networks mediate collision avoidance in Xenopus tadpoles. European Journal of Neuroscience, 40(6), 2948–2962
The ticks that harbor the bacterium that causes Lyme disease can also carry other pathogens. Dr. Felicia Keesing and co-authors showed that ticks are more likely to be coinfected with the organism that causes babesiosis than expected by chance, as ticks are likely to acquire both pathogens when they feed on a single small-mammal host.
Citation: Hersh, Michelle H., Richard S. Ostfeld, Diana J. McHenry, Michael Tibbetts, Jesse L. Brunner, Mary E. Killilea, Kathleen LoGiudice, Kenneth A. Schmidt, and Felicia Keesing. “Co-Infection of blacklegged ticks with Babesia microti and Borrelia burgdorferi is higher than expected and acquired from small mammal hosts.” (2014): e99348.
Download the paper: Hersh et al. 2014 – coinfection