Interactions of bacteria and predatory eukaryotes in the marine environment

This project investigates the mechanisms of survival and persistence of pathogens in the environment, and what impact these mechanisms have on virulence and pathogenicity in the host. Broadly, we study how the impact of predation by protozoa on microbial communities and how evolution of grazing defences drives the evolution of pathogenicity in the environment. Predation is an important selection pressure that pathogens face in the environment, and as a result, pathogens may evolve phenotypes that not only increase their fitness in the environment but may also increase their fitness in the human host. This research will allow us to test key aspects of the Coincidental Selection Hypothesis, which states that the virulence of many opportunistic human pathogens may be an accidental by-product of selection for adaptations not related to human disease. For more information contact Prof. Staffan Kjelleberg.

Torsten Disease project