From 15-17 September 2015, the Evolutionary Ecology Group at the Department of Biology, University of Antwerp organizes again the annual 3-day Summer workshop
"Ecology and Evolution of Parasites and Infections: The interplay between communities of hosts and parasites".
This workshop is open to Ph.D.-students and young post-doctoral researchers with an interest in the Ecology and Evolution of Parasites and Infections. Participation is free of charge and includes hand-outs, refreshments during breaks and lunch. The number of participants is limited to 15.
For registration (obligatory), send an email with a brief motivation (max. 10 lines) and a cv to firstname.lastname@example.org before 5 September.
The program of the workshop consists of two different activities:
1) Renowned international scientists will give lectures, at PhD-student level, about recent developments related to the workshop theme in their discipline;
These include (titles still to be specified more):
· Rick Ostfeld (Cary Institute of Ecology, New York): Reservoir competence for multi-host pathogens as a mechanism for the link between biodiversity and tick borne infections.
· Mike Begon (University of Liverpool): Infectious diseases: from wild rodents to universal truths.
· N.N. (still to be confirmed)
2) All participating PhD-students and post-docs briefly present their research project and have ample time to discuss it with the other participants and the international scientists. The aim is to stimulate networking within Flanders and receive fresh input from top experts in the field.
The exact planning of the three days will depend on the background of the participating students/postdocs, since the lectures and the participant presentations will be grouped thematically.
Since about two decades there is a strong and growing interest in the ecology and evolution of parasites and infections. This interest is stimulated from two sides. In Biology it is well accepted that parasitism is a very common ecological relationship of co-existence between species and it is estimated that there are at least as many parasitic as non-parasitic species; moreover parasitism is one of the major driving forces of evolution and the interactions between hosts and parasites provide insights in the different mechanisms of evolution. Secondly, there is a growing concern for so-called new and (re)emerging infectious diseases, most of which are of zoonotic origin or make an evolutionary host jump to become established in humans or livestock. Changing ecological conditions (e.g. due to climate change, invasion of humans in new habitats) are altering the transmission and distribution patterns of such diseases.
Several research groups in Flanders are studying the above broad topic. The diversity of background disciplines (biology, medicine, veterinary medicine), taxonomic groups of hosts or parasites (viruses, bacteria, Protista, Metazoa), different approaches (microbiology, evolutionary genetics, transmission ecology, disease control, modelling…), a focus on different geographic regions,…. make that these groups often are not very familiar with each other. This same diversity could, however, be most enriching and stimulating for students and researchers working in these groups.
The activity is part of a series of annually organized workshops on the general theme of "Ecology and Evolution of Parasites and Infections" but each year with a different more specific theme.
Prof. dr. Herwig Leirs
Groenenborgerlaan 171 - 2020 Antwerpen - Belgium