Mathematical Life Sciences Seminar (MLSS)- September 21, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015 (3:15 p.m. in Yost 306)

Title: Immune Selection of Malaria Quasi-Species: A Modeling Perspective

Speaker: David Gurarie (Professor, Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, & Statistics, Case Western Reserve University)

Abstract: The talk will review some conventional approaches to competition and fitness selection for interacting populations, and focus specifically on host-parasite systems. Parasite survival, development and fitness selection takes place on two levels: within-host (controlled by host immunity), and between-hosts and host communities. Successful parasites, like malaria have evolved multiple adaptation strategies to avoid host immunity that rely on its “diversity” and “cooperation”. A proper way to understand and study such systems is the concept of “quasi-species”.

Here we develop a “quasi-species” approach to malaria-type parasites, and apply it to address some questions of fitness, evolution and selection on individual and community levels. Among other topics we reexamine the V-T-P (virulence-transmissibility-persistence) hypothesis, and study virulence selection patterns. We conclude by outlining open questions and future possibilities of the quasi-species approach.

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