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NIMBioS Seminar Series

In conjunction with the interdisciplinary activities of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), a seminar series on topics in mathematical biology will be hosted at NIMBioS every other Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) in the Hallam Auditorium, Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd. Seminar speakers will focus on their research initiatives at the interface of mathematics and many areas of the life sciences. Light refreshments will be served in Room 206 beginning 30 minutes before each talk. Faculty and students from across the UT community are welcome to join us.

N. Mideo photo.

Time/Date: Thursday, February 27, 2014, 3:30 p.m.*
Location: Hallam Auditorium, Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd.
Speaker: Dr. Nicole Mideo, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Univ. of Toronto
Topic: Explaining the complex lives of malaria parasites
Abstract: Despite a wealth of biomedical research into the pathogenesis of infectious diseases, little is known about the basic biology of their etiological agents. For many parasites, we lack satisfying answers to questions such as: what is it specifically about the interaction between hosts and parasites that results in disease symptoms? How do these interactions differ between closely related parasite strains or species? And, which factors have shaped parasite traits that determine harm to host and infectiousness? Using a combination of theoretical and experimental approaches, my work has revealed processes that underlie within-host dynamics of experimental rodent malaria infections and how differences in these processes give rise to the variation observed in patterns of disease across parasite genotypes. I will present results that demonstrate the importance of resource availability and competition and show that such 'bottom-up' mechanisms can explain phenomena that are often attributed to immune-mediated processes. Finally, I will show how verbal hypotheses pervading the literature to explain why malaria parasites seem to invest so little in reproduction (transmission) do not stand up to formal, mathematical scrutiny.

*Join us for refreshments at 3 p.m. in Room 206.

Seminar Flyer (pdf)

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For more information about this and other NIMBioS Seminars, visit

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NIMBioS is supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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