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Workshop / Seminar

Tick immunity vs. pathogen persistence: the molecular tug of war that shapes vector competence

Bustad Hall
Room 145
  • Optional after-seminar social: Please feel welcome to join us for an informal social gathering following each seminar at Trailside (505 SE Riverview)
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About the event

Advances in Immunology & Microbiology Seminar Series, College of Veterinary Medicine

The Advances in Immunology & Microbiology seminar series is a weekly forum that brings together scientists from diverse fields and disciplines across the College of Veterinary Medicine to discuss research advances in the broad areas of immunology, microbiology, infectious diseases, and global health. Seminars feature student speakers from the Immunology & Infectious Disease (IID) doctoral program, IID-affiliated postdoctoral researchers and faculty, intramural speakers from across the university, and extramural speakers.

Dana Shaw

Presenter: Dana Shaw; Assistant Professor, Veterinary Microbiology & Pathology

ABSTRACT: Ticks are responsible for more than 90% of all U.S. vector-borne diseases cases. What makes ticks such effective pathogen vectors? My research focuses on forces that shape the ability of arthropods to harbor and transmit disease-causing microbes. Arthropod immune systems are a fundamental factor influencing this phenomenon. We found that tick immunity is tightly intertwined with cellular stress responses, which work together to sense and respond to microbes. This mode of immune circuitry deviates from the classic innate immunity paradigm where a PAMP is recognized by a host receptor. Instead, infection-induced stress activates cellular stress responses, subsequently prompting immune reactions. How are pathogens persisting in the tick despite immunological pressure? We found that while early infection triggers immunity, latent, persistent infection induces antioxidant responses that reduces collateral damage to the arthropod. Ultimately this network preserves tick fitness, but also benefits the microbe. Taken together, our findings shed light on the mechanistic push and pull between tick immunity and pathogen persistence within arthropods.


Arden Baylink, Assistant Professor, Veterinary Microbiology & Pathology