Zen Faulkes and I are co-organizing a symposium for the 2014 SICB conference to be held in Austin on January 3-7th. The symposium is called “Parasitic manipulation of host phenotype, or how to make a zombie“, and we have a ridiculously awesome line-up of speakers:

Morning Session 1: Parasites and multidimensional changes to host ant_lowresphenotype

Kelly Weinersmith (University of California Davis): “California killifish manipulated by Euhaplorchis californiensis show changes in behavior, neurotransmitter activity, and hormones”

Dr. Joanne Webster and Maya Kaushik (Imperial College): “The role of Toxoplasma gondii in influencing predation-related fear, generalized anxiety and affective disorders in the mammalian central nervous system”

Dr. Shelley Adamo (Dalhousie University): “Brain manipulation by immune modulation: how parasites control host behavior”

Morning Session 2: Mechanisms of manipulation

Dr. Frederic Libersat (Ben Gurion University): “Neuro-chemical manipulation of host behavior by a parasitoid wasp”

Dr. Janice Moore (Colorado State University): “Bossy parasites and feisty hosts-Parasites that manipulate and hosts that fight back”

Dr. Brian Fredensborg (University of Copenhagen): “A “jack-of-all-trades” or a “master of one”?: How does complex behavior manipulation affect host specificity?”

Dr. Mark Mescher (Pennsylvania State University): “Manipulation of host chemistry by vector-borne pathogens of plants and animals”

Afternoon Session 1: Ecology and evolution of phenotypic manipulation

Dr. David Hughes (Pennsylvania State University): “Reconstructing the evolutionary history of behavioral manipulation”

Dr. Kevin Lafferty (United States Geological Survey and University of California Santa Barbara): “Ecological consequences of host manipulation by parasites”

Dr. Frédéric Thomas (National Center for Scientific Research, France): “Evolution of host tolerance to behavior manipulation”

Dr. Zen Faulkes (The University of Texas-Pan American): “First, do no harm: Challenges to controlling another organism’s nervous system”

This is a tentative list, and participation of some speakers depends on funding. So keep your eyes peeled, because Zen and I are going to launch a crowdfunding campaign to ensure that we can get all of these absolutely amazing zombie researchers in one place.

We’re looking for people (especially students!) to present in accompanying sessions, so please get in touch with me if you study parasite manipulation of host phenotype and want to get involved.

The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology conference is an exciting venue for this symposium. A lot of the people who study parasite manipulation of host phenotype are parasitologists, and our understanding of this phenomena would be greatly enhanced by a more integrative approach. We’d like to get more genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, neurobiology, and immunology folks excited about the field, and an integrative venue like the SICB conference seems like a great place to find these people!

Hope to see you in Austin in 2014! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


September 1st, 2018

Graduate student position available studying alternative reproductive tactics at BGSU

We seek a graduate student for a newly NSF-funded project examining the life history decisions made by male smallmouth bass. […]

June 14th, 2018

Part of that World

The other day I was singing “Part of your World” from The Little Mermaid, but was changing some of the […]

June 13th, 2018

Parasite manipulation of host behavior in pop culture

I’m going to be giving a talk at the sure-to-be-amazing Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Meeting. The meeting celebrates all things zombie-related, and […]

June 4th, 2017

Soonish giveaway on Goodreads!

Five copies of the advance reader version of Zach and my new book Soonish are up for grabs on Goodreads! Click […]

March 7th, 2017

Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything

Zach and I wrote a book! Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything explores 10 emerging technologies, and discusses the roadblocks […]

January 26th, 2017

Tales from the Crypt: a parasitoid manipulates the behaviour of its parasite host

I have a new paper out with Dr. Scott Egan, Dr. Andrew Forbes, and Sean Liu! The paper is Open Access […]

May 30th, 2016

Postdoc with Dr. Ryan Hechinger (and me!)

We’re looking for a postdoc! See below! —————— Postdoctoral Opportunity with the Marine Biology Research Division at SIO Postdoctoral Scholar […]

May 7th, 2016

Science…sort of Episode 240: Moon Rocks Don’t Glow

I co-hosted an episode of Science…sort of recently. I pasted the show notes below, but you’ll have to head over […]

February 24th, 2016

Books on parasites

I’m often asked by students to suggest books they can read about parasites. Below is a list of books that […]

August 22nd, 2015

Great Adaptations – A kid’s book about evolution

Zach Weinersmith and I contributed to Tiffany Taylor’s children’s book about evolution. Tiffany worked with scientists to create Seuss-style stories […]