Sex and the immune defense

Summary of Research

This project combines mathematical modeling, a systematic review and empirical research to better explain why females and males face different selection pressures related to immunity. The modeling part is divided into two main approaches: first, examining the effects of life-history traits, cost of infection, sexual selection and sexual conflict on investing resources in the immune defense. The second part employs a co-evolution model to examine the mutual effects between a sexually dimorphic host in immunity on the pathogen and a pathogen that can adapt its virulence to the sex of its host. The systematic review concerns the sex difference in response to the HPV vaccine. The final part includes scanning the historical specimens at the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine for the DNA of HPV and potential co-existing pathogens.

Project Leader