Control of microbial pathogens follows a repetitive and depressing cycle: a new drug is introduced and works well for a while, until drug resistant pathogens arise and spread. This is bad news for the people infected, but provides an excellent opportunity to study recent selective events or those that are still ongoing. How many times does drug resistance arise in microbial populations? What determines whether particular drug resistance alleles spread? How many genes are involved? Answering these questions is critical if we are to develop sensible “evolution proof” strategies for controlling malaria and other pathogens. Resistance to a succession of antimalarial drugs has arisen over the past half century and invariably arises in SE Asia: my lab uses molecular data and an evolutionary framework to better understand the dynamics of drug resistance evolution in the face of strong drug selection.
Speaker Biography - Timothy Anderson, Ph.D.
Timothy Anderson, Ph.D.
Texas Biomedical Research Institute San Antonio, Texas
Tim Anderson works at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) in San Antonio, Texas. He received his undergraduate degree in Zoology from Oxford University and a Masters in Medical Parasitology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, before moving to the University of Rochester (New York State) for graduate school. Following postdoctoral work in Oxford and Milan, he moved to his current position at Texas Biomed. He has previously studied mice on Scottish islands, butterfly-ant symbioses in Australia, Wolbachia endosymbionts in filarial nematodes, and roundworm transmission in Guatemalan villages, before focusing on the genetics and evolution of malaria and schistosomes. Dr Anderson utilizes a population/quantitative genetics framework, molecular approaches, and both laboratory and field based research to ask questions about the evolution, ecology and transmission of parasites. His malaria research focuses on understanding how many times drug resistance has evolved in nature, what genes are involved, the role of copy number variation and SNPs, and the composition of complex parasite infections containing multiple parasite genotypes. His schistosome research pioneers use of laboratory genetic crosses and linkage mapping for analysis of drug resistance and host specificity, and exome sequencing of single miracidia larvae for describing hybridization and population genomics.
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