ITM 54th Annual Colloquium

Theme 5:

Interaction between pathogens

Infectious agents often do not act independently, and their infection and disease potential is mediated by their interaction with other pathogens. Most epidemiological and clinical studies concentrate on a single pathogen species, even though in reality hosts are usually infected by multiple pathogen species. These co-infections can include intra- and extracellular pathogens that can interact with each other through direct competition or via the immune system by eliciting different immune responses. Pathogens themselves can also be infected by pathogens (hyperparasitism) and can closely interact with the microbiome. All these interactions can influence the infection dynamics, progression, and immunoprophylaxis of the diseases they cause.

In this session we will cover some of the most common co-infections, and the consequences for the epidemiology, clinical outcome, treatment and control of the associated diseases. We will also look at the effect of hyperparasitism on pathology, while another talk will focus on experimental field studies to understand the ecology of co-infections in animal models.

Prof. Nicolas Fasel

A tale of a virus and of a parasite

Nicolas Fasel is full professor at the Faculty of Biology and Medicine of the University of Lausanne and director of the Department of Biochemistry.

After a doctoral degree at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research, he took up a post-doctoral position at UCLA. On his return to Switzerland, he studied post-translational modifications of cell surface antigens before investigating the molecular and cellular biology of protozoan parasites including virulence factors, cell death and host response.

Recently, he reported the role of a virus present in Leishmania parasites as a factor implicated in the metastasis of some forms of leishmaniases.

Picture of Nicolas Fasel

Dr. Pauline NM Mwinzi

HIV, Schistosomes and Plasmodium co-infections: Recent research advances and implications in the age of control

Dr. Mwinzi is an immunologist and currently a Principal Investigator at the Neglected Tropical Diseases Branch at the Kenya Medical Research Institute, Center for Global Health Research located in Kisumu city, Kenya.

She has studied human schistosomiasis for the past 15 years, contributing to our understanding of determinants of resistance to re-infections and co-infections with HIV and Malaria and and drug efficacy during co-infections. She has also studied immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) in patients with schistosome and HIV co-infections, looking into the immunopathogenesis, clinical aspects and management of manifestation of IRIS in schistosomiasis patients who have HIV and are undergoing HAART in western Kenya.

She has supervised several graduate students and teaches Immunology of Parasitic Dieseases at the Maseno University School of Public Health and Community Development, and also in the Zoology Department of the same university.

Picture of Nicolas Fasel

Dr. Brenda Anna Kwambana

The impact of vaccination on the nasopharyngeal microbiome and co-colonization in infants

Dr. Brenda Anna Kwambana is a post-doctoral scientist at the Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia, in Dr. Martin Antonio’s team. Her work focuses on investigating the impact of vaccination on microbial co-colonization and the nasopharyngeal microbiome in young children. She made significant contributions to the development of the Sibanor Nasopharyngeal Microbiome Project which was the first African member of the International Human Microbiome Consortium (IHMC). She is set to be the Gambia site study co-ordinator for the Gates Vaccination and Paediatric Microbiome multi-center study. She is also an honorary lecturer at St. Georges, University of London and Kingston University.

Picture of Martin Antonio

Dr. William Worodria

Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Pathogen interactions and the Immune Restoration Syndrome

Dr. Worodria is a specialist in internal medicine with an interest in pulmonary complications of HIV at work as a Consultant Physician at the Mulago National Referral and Teaching hospital and at the Infectious Disease Institute, Kampala, Uganda.

Currently he is a Senior EDCTP Fellow at the Infectious Disease Institute and as such involved in collaborative clinical studies on diagnosis of tuberculosis and other HIV-related opportunistic infections. The infectious Disease Institute recently concluded the follow up of a TB-HIV cohort to study the tuberculosis-immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome and adverse effects of tuberculosis and antiretroviral therapy.

Dr. Worodria’s main motivation is to provide the most appropriate care to patients with pulmonary diseases, based on the best available and feasible information.

Picture of William Worodria

Dr. Sarah Knowles

Interactions among co-infecting parasites and the stability of parasite communities to drug-based intervention

Sarah Knowles is a disease ecologist at the Centre for Infection, Immunity and Evolution (CIIE), University of Edinburgh.

Her research focuses on host-parasite and parasite-parasite interactions in wild animal systems. Her Ph.D. from the University of Oxford investigated the interactions between avian Plasmodium parasites and wild birds.

Current research uses wild populations of mice to study co-infection. This research applies a community ecology framework to investigate interactions among co-infecting parasites including helminths, bacteria, protozoa, and more recently gut commensals. Specifically, by experimentally removing a particular parasite with targeted drug treatment, one can dissect the nature and strength of ecological interactions among parasites. In parallel, these data can be used to evaluate the stability of parasite communities and optimize drug treatment strategies.

Picture of Sarah Knowles