News from EEGID

November 2016


Dr Dave Daversa joined to work as a postdoc on Andy Fenton‘s NERC-funded project “Quantifying host species contributions to pathogen transmission in a multihost community: the case of chytrid fungus in amphibian communities”.

Publications this month:

Budge, G.E., Adams, I., Thwaites, R., Pietravalle, S., Drew, G.C., Hurst, G.D.D., Tomkies, V., Boonham, N., Brown, M., 2016. Identifying bacterial predictors of honey bee health. J. Invertebr. Pathol. 141, 41–44. doi:10.1016/j.jip.2016.11.003

October 2016

Publications this month:   

Corbin, C., Heyworth, E.R., Ferrari, J., Hurst, G.D.D., 2016. Heritable symbionts in a world of varying temperature. Nature heredity.  doi: 10.1038/hdy.2016.71

August 2016


Shaun Keegan presented within the spatial ecology group at IBAHCM (University of Glasgow) on his planned research

Andy Fenton  published a blog post for Journal Animal Ecology on the role of ecology in managing vector-borne diseases, it can be found here.

July 2016


PhD students; Beth, Gabi,and Vinnie participated in the Big Bang North West Science fair, running a disease simulation “Microbe Premier League”. Becky  also ran a “match the parasite” activity. More about the event can be found here.

Publications this month:

An article on an epilepsy project involving Beth was recently published in Lancet Neurology. The project is striving to disentangle the potential  link between onchocerciasis and the prevalence of epilepsy in sub-Saharan Africa.

Susan M. Withenshaw, Godefroy Devevey, Amy B. Pedersen & Andy Fenton. Multi-host Bartonella parasites display covert host-specificity even when transmitted by generalist vectors. Journal of Animal Ecology, in press. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.12568

Other News:

Shaun is working away at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Infection, Immunity and Evolution under the supervision of Dr. Amy Pedersen, and also the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Biodiversity under the supervision of Dr. Simon Babayan.

While at UoE/UoG  Shaun will be continuing his PhD work, and assisting in field work (which for a data scientist, he says, will be ‘an experience!’).

June 2016


Georgia recently attended the 9th international Wolbachia conference in Australia, giving a talk on her work looking at a symbiont of honey bees. The biennial meeting focused on the reproductive parasite, Wolbachia, and other notable endosymbionts of arthropods and nematodes. Nestled in the sub-tropical Queensland rainforest, over 80 delegates from across the globe assembled to present work on the evolution, ecology, genomics and cell biology of symbioses.

A group of PhD students and post docs attended the Manchester Molecular and Genome Evolution symposium. The day saw Georgia give a 15 minute talk on her work , while Jack and Stefanos presented posters at this excellent one day conference.

Shaun attended the EEID (Ecology and  Evolution of Infectious Diseases) conference at Cornel University in Ithaca, USA. Presenting a poster summarising his planned PhD research.

May 2016

Backdated publications:

Professor Andy Fenton recently organised/edited a Special Issue for Parasitology on the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases:

Fenton, A. Editorial: Mathematical modelling of infectious diseases.2016. Parasitology. 143, 801–804. doi:10.1017/S0031182016000214.

March 2016

Royal Entomological Society Endosymiont SIG meeting at the University of Oxford, 15th March 2016.

The day saw an early start for Michael, Stefanos, Jack and me as we caught the 06:05 train from Liverpool Lime St. It was well worth the early start as there were some fantastic talks from endosymbiont researchers from around the UK and overseas, including Christoph Vorburger from EAWAG Zurich, Melanie Smee from York and Julien Marinez from Cambridge. There were also talks from some of Liverpool IIB’s post-docs and PhD students including Dave Starn, Frances Blow and Michael Gerth. Highlights from the day included Vorburger’s talk on the role of endosymbionts in aphid-parasitoid coevolution, namely the role of Hamiltonella defensa and it’s bacteriophage in protecting their black bean aphid host from parasitic wasp larvae. The parasitoid on the other hand can counter-adapt to the symbiont’s protection by laying eggs in increased quantity or in younger hosts. This complex three-way interaction leads to some interesting coevolutionary dynamics. All in all, it was a very informative and friendly meeting and a huge amount of credit goes to Ailsa McLean from Oxford for organising the day.

Microbiology Society Annual Conference in Liverpool, 21st-24th March 2016.

As microbial ecologists Georgia, Chris, Michael, Jack, Stefanos, Greg and I attended the session ‘Insights from within: current advances in understanding microbial interactions with insects’ on the Wednesday and Thursday of the Conference. These two days were packed full of interesting material. Highlights of Wednesday included talks by Nancy Moran on the gut communities of Honey Bees, Bruno Lemaitre on Drosophila-Spiroplasma interactions, as well as some interesting talks from the Brockhurst lab in York on plasmid mediated gene flux in bacterial communities. Highlights from the Thursday included talks by Scott O’Neil on the use of Wolbachia to prevent dengue and zika virus transmission in mosquitoes, Angela Douglas on Drosophila gut microbiota and last but definitely the most interesting…a talk from our very own Greg Hurst on the evolutionary ecology of host shifts. This showcased some of my own and Michael’s work. Altogether, it was a highly enjoyable two days and luckily we didn’t have far to travel.


Order of posters from left to right:  Jo Griffin, Georgia Drew and Chris Corbin. Photo courtesy of Chris Corbin.

By Jo Griffin


On the 8th March Andy Fenton will be talking at the Leibnitz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, in Berlin. This is part of the Berlin Parasitology Seminar Series and will see Andy give a seminar focusing on parasite-host interactions and population dynamics.

February 2016

Grants awarded:

Marie curie fellowship; Thomas Lilley to work on genetic determinants of white-nose syndrome in bats with Steve Paterson

Other news:

Maria Capstick, Noelia Dominguez Alvarez and Susan Withenshaw are to join Steve Paterson and Mike Begon’s vole trapping team.

Backdated publications:

Pounder, K.C., Watts, P.C., Niklasson, B., Kallio, E.R.K., Marston, D.A, Fooks, A.R., Begon, M. & McElhinney, L.M. (2015) Genome characterisation of two Ljungan virus isolates from wild bank voles (Myodes glareolus) in Sweden. Infection, Genetics and Evolution 36, 156–164. doi. j.meegid.2015.09.010

Costa, F., Wunder, Jr., E.A., De Oliveira, D., Bisht, V., Rodrigues, G., Reis, M.G., Ko, A.I., Begon, M. & J Childs, J.E. (2015) Patterns in Leptospira Shedding in Norway Rats (Rattus norvegicus) from Brazilian Slum Communities at High Risk of Disease Transmission PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases DOI:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003819

January 2016

Grants awarded:

NERC Grant awarded to Andy FentonQuantifying host species contributions to pathogen transmission in a multihost community: the case of chytrid fungus in amphibian communities’.

Andy Fenton as PI, with CI’s Trent Garner (Institute of Zoology, London), Andrea Manica (University of Cambridge) and Jaime Bosch (Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Spain).  Total ~£630K, to explore how amphibian community composition affects the spread and impact of chytrid fungus in northern Spain.

NERC grant awarded to Greg Hurst‘How do sex ratio distorting symbionts affect the evolution of their host?’

Greg Hurst as PI, with Ilik Saccheri as CI, and CI Prof. Nina Wedell from Exeter. £522,602 to support a postdoc and technician to work on Wolbachia-Hypolminas interaction, and how suppression of male-killing evolved.

Marie-Curie fellowships:

Michael Gerth to work on determinants of Spiroplasma symbiont compatibility with Drosophila following host shift events

Crystal Frost to work with the USDA and Liverpool on bee symbionts in health and disease.


December 2015


Jones, R. S., Fenton, A. & Speed, M. P. 2015. ‘Parasite-induced aposematism’ protects entomopathogenic nematode parasites against invertebrate enemies. Behavioural Ecology,  DOI:10.1093/beheco/arv202 

Webster, J. P., Gower, C. M., Knowles, S. C. L., Molyneux, D. H. & Fenton, A. 2015. One Health – an ecological and evolutionary framework for tackling Neglected Zoonotic Diseases. Evolutionary Applications. In press. DOI: 10.1111/eva.12341.

Speed, M., Brockhurst, M., Jones, M., Fenton, A. & Ruxton, G. 2015. Coevolution can explain defensive secondary metabolite diversity in plants. New Phytologist 208, 1251-1263. DOI: 10.1111/nph.13560.

Other News:

Eminent science writer Ed Yong picks up EEGID’s Rebecca Jones recent paper on aposematism, covering it in an article at National Geographic, check it out here

November 2015


Griffiths, E. C., Pedersen, A. B., Fenton, A. & Petchey, O. L. 2015. Reported coinfection deaths are more common in early adulthood and among similar infections. BMC Infectious Diseases 15, 411. DOI 10.1186/s12879-015-1118-2.

October 2015

EEGID welcomes its new members:

Shaun Keegan, NERC ACCE PhD student, working on spatial disease ecology with Andy Fenton.

 Lucy Mycock, BBSRC PhD student, working on worms with Steve Patterson.

Jo Griffin, NERC ACCE PhD student, working on host shifts with Greg Hurst.

 Klara Wanelik has joined Steve Paterson’s group as a post-doc from the University of Oxford.

Michael Gerth has joined Greg Hurst’s group as a post-doc.

Other news:

Andy Fenton and Beth Levick attended ‘Parasites & Pathogens’ BES SIG retreat on ‘Transmission’ at Gregynog Hall, Wales 21st – 24th Sept.

David Williams has left Steve Patterson’s group to work with Neil Hall.

Chris Corbin presented at at EMPSEB21 in Edinburgh, ‘Transmission of a protective mutualist, hy1 Spiroplasma, is robust to cool temperatures’.

Congratulations to Daria Pastok who successfully defended her thesis ‘Causes of spatial variation in parasite and pathogen pressure in insects’.


Fenton, A., Streicker, D. G., Petchey, O. L. & Pedersen, A. B. 2015. Are all hosts created equal?  Partitioning host species contributions to parasite persistence in multi-host communities. The American Naturalist. In press.

Johnson, P. T. J., de Roode, J. C. & Fenton, A. 2015 Why infectious disease research needs community ecology. Science 349, 1259504. doi: 10.1126/science.1259504.

Maurice, C. F., Knowles, S. C. L., Ladau, J., Pollard, K. S., Fenton, A. and Pedersen, A. B. & Turnbaugh, P. J. 2015. Marked seasonal variation in the wild mouse gut microbiota. ISME Journal. In press. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2015.53.

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