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How many parasitic worms do you have in your gut, and how long have they been there? The answer comes with some surprising implications.

Tune in to discover:

  • What the “weep and sweep” immune response entails and how it works
  • What surprising tradeoff exists between reproductive abilities and the strength of immune responses to infectious diseases
  • What interactions occur between host microbiota and parasitic infections in the gut

Andrea Graham is a professor at Princeton University in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology whose work revolves around a simple question, with a not-so-simple answer: Why do hosts vary so much in their susceptibility to infectious disease and autoimmune disease?

Most of her research is on the parasitic worms that live inside the guts of over a billion animals worldwide, including humans. What dictates whether a host will immediately or very slowly detect the presence of these worms? And once they do detect them, what dictates whether the host is able to mount a strong or weak immune response?

Graham aims to answer these questions primarily by looking to the ecological and evolutionary roots of heterogeneity in immune response and susceptibility to infectious disease.

She shares with listeners some of her research findings, such as those from “re-wilding” experiments using inbred lab mice, deworming treatments used to discover how parasites interact with one another in the same host, and more.

Press play for all the details and learn more at http://algraham.princeton.edu/.

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