Archives SEEM

11 septembre 2020, 16h00 (diffusion en visioconférence).

Disease ecology: Integrating field, lab and mathematical work.

Benny Borremans

Link to seminar will be posted here

University of California, Los Angeles
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Disease ecology is an exciting field that builds on the integration of observational, experimental, laboratory and mathematical work to better understand how pathogens spread in nature. The research Benny Borremans has focused on is based on these principles. He used laboratory experiments to quantify within-host infection patterns that were then used to interpret and model transmission patterns in natural conditions using data collected in long-term field studies. A strong focus of his work has been on developing ways to optimally use different types of data to better estimate when individuals were infected. Knowing when individuals were infected provides the basis for understanding pathogen transmission, but especially in wildlife hosts it is typically highly challenging to estimate time of infection. It is however possible to leverage related processes, such as the change in antibody level over time, the presence of the pathogen in different organs, or even outbreak seasonality, to infer time of infection. In this presentation, Dr. Borremans will present different aspects of his work on arenavirus transmission in rodents and Leptospira transmission in California sea lions and Channel Island foxes, with a focus on general lessons that can be learned by integrating information from different sources.

Recent publications:

- Borremans B, Hens N, Beutels P, Leirs H, Reijniers J. 2016. Estimating time of infection using prior serological and individual information can greatly improve incidence estimation of human and wildlife infections. PLOS Comput Biol 12:e1004882.

- Borremans B, Faust C, Manlove KR, Sokolow SH, Lloyd-smith JO. 2019. Cross-species pathogen spillover across ecosystem boundaries: mechanisms and theory. Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 374:20180344.

- Borremans B, Reijniers J, Hens N, Leirs H. 2017. The shape of the contact-density function matters when modelling parasite transmission in fluctuating populations.