Edze Westra

Edze Westra works on host-parasite interactions, using bacterial systems as models. His work has revealed a surprising level of complexity in the interactions of bacterial immune systems with their environments and their phage parasites-- showing, for example, that both autoimmune attack and community ecology drive the evolution of CRISPR-based immunity.

Edze is a Professor and NERC Independent Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, and you can read more about his work here.

Talk Abstract
The evolutionary ecology of host defence and counter-defence

Organisms can evolve different defences in response to pathogen infection. My lab studies the interactions between bacteria and their viruses (bacteriophage, phage) to understand how ecology drives the evolution of different defence strategies. Bacteria have many different defences that provide protection against phage, including an adaptive immune system (known as CRISPR-Cas) and various innate defences (e.g. phage receptor mutation). I will discuss how and why certain ecological variables tip the balance in the evolution of these defences and their long-term evolutionary and coevolutionary consequences.