Presenter Information

David Hughes

Location

Gottwald Science Center Auditorium - University of Richmond

Event Website

http://as.richmond.edu/programs/hhmi/science-symposium.html

Start Date

9-23-2016

End Date

9-23-2016

Document Type

Event

Description

Dr. David Hughes, Assistant Professor of Entomology and Biology, Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University provided a talk on "Zombie Ants: The Precise Control of Animal Behavior by a Microbe."

Dr. Hughes presented an overview of his lab’s work that examines how a microbe (a fungus) controls an animal (an ant). The lab's work leverages distinct approaches from ecology to genomics to physics to histology to ask how the organism without the brain controls the one with the brain. They are discovering that the fungus controls its ant by directly affecting the muscles that underlie behavior, and importantly does not invade the brain. They have also discovered the nested levels of this manipulation as the parasite controls ants to die beside the interaction network (trails) of the colony it infects. At the biogeographic scale they are discovering how this fungus has adapted to global climate change and multiple diverse aspects found on the ant phylogenetic tree. Much of their work, while focused on parasite manipulation of host behavior, is also a call for greater natural history and organismal biology in modern approaches.

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Sep 23rd, 12:00 AM Sep 23rd, 12:00 AM

Keynote Lecture: Zombie Ants: The Precise Control of Animal Behavior by a Microbe

Gottwald Science Center Auditorium - University of Richmond

Dr. David Hughes, Assistant Professor of Entomology and Biology, Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University provided a talk on "Zombie Ants: The Precise Control of Animal Behavior by a Microbe."

Dr. Hughes presented an overview of his lab’s work that examines how a microbe (a fungus) controls an animal (an ant). The lab's work leverages distinct approaches from ecology to genomics to physics to histology to ask how the organism without the brain controls the one with the brain. They are discovering that the fungus controls its ant by directly affecting the muscles that underlie behavior, and importantly does not invade the brain. They have also discovered the nested levels of this manipulation as the parasite controls ants to die beside the interaction network (trails) of the colony it infects. At the biogeographic scale they are discovering how this fungus has adapted to global climate change and multiple diverse aspects found on the ant phylogenetic tree. Much of their work, while focused on parasite manipulation of host behavior, is also a call for greater natural history and organismal biology in modern approaches.

http://scholarship.richmond.edu/hhmi/2016/Keynote/1