Nels Elde, Ph.D.

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Pathogen-Driven Evolution

Our lab uses host-pathogen interactions as a model for studying mechanisms of evolution.

Host-pathogen interfaces are battlefronts for influence over host functions. From an evolutionary perspective each interaction can bear heavily on the fitness of both hosts and pathogens. Therefore, these interactions drive some of the most rapid evolution found in nature and can provide basic insights into the evolutionary process.

We study the consequences of pathogen-driven evolution on cells and host immunity factors. Protein surfaces at these interfaces often evolve in a manner resembling molecular arms races. We are also interested in cases where pathogens use molecular mimicry to gain advantages against hosts. In addition, we use experimental evolution to determine the evolutionary potential of viruses and understand the rules by which they adapt.

Elde Lab Website (www.cellvolution.org)