Invasion ecology of the human body
What makes someone susceptible to an infectious disease? According to research to be presented in a symposium at ESA's Annual Meeting, the resilience of naturally-occurring microbes in the human body plays a large role in susceptibility. That is, the diversity and abundance of normal microbial communities in the human body can help fight off pathogen invasions. With this in mind, ecological and biomedical scientists will merge their research to create a comprehensive analysis of human infectious disease and discuss opportunities for prevention.
In one of the presentations, for example, Steven Kembel and colleagues from the University of Oregon will discuss how building design influences airborne microbes in a hospital environment. The study revealed that bacteria are abundant in airborne microbial communities, regardless of the type of ventilation a hospital uses. However, the diversity and composition of these communities, they found, differed between mechanically- and naturally-ventilated rooms. They discovered that several types of bacteria with effects on human health were more common in mechanically-ventilated rooms than rooms with open windows and no fans. The scientists will address the implications of their findings for hospital ventilation planning.
The symposium "The invasion ecology of disease: Understanding the drivers of microbial community assembly and host-microbe dynamics in the human body," co-organized by Vanja Klepac-Ceraj of the Forsyth Institute and Petra Klepac of Princeton University, will be held Friday, August 6, 2010 from 8:00-11:30 am.
Other sessions on ecology and human health include:
The symposium "Towards
|Contact: Katie Kline|
Ecological Society of America