Pennsylvania State University
Evolutionary and Developmental Neuroscience
Title of talk:
David Hughes is Associate Professor of Entomology and Biology at Pennsylvania State University. After finishing his undergraduate studies in Zoology at the University of Glasgow, he specialised in the field of Entomology in his doctoral thesis at the University of Oxford. His research focusses on the role of parasite manipulation of host behavior and its implications in disease transmission and dynamics. Many parasites have evolved strategies to control their hosts turning them into vehicles for parasite genes. The behavior of the host can thus become an extended phenotype of the parasite. One of the model systems and most dramatic examples of this adaptive parasite-host interaction investigated in Hughes’ research team is the ‘death grip’ of ants infected by a fungus. Hughes is generally very interested in the biodiversity of our planet and especially dedicated to increase our knowledge on understudied taxa in the tropical rainforests. He is conducting field studies and establishing research connections in many countries to promote coordinated surveys of parasite species across the globe.