Mary Westwood

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Mary Westwood

PhD Student

Mary.westwood@ed.ac.uk

I AM INTERESTED IN HOW CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS AFFECT INTERACTIONS BETWEEN HOSTS AND PARASITES.

 You [human] are a rhythmic organism. You probably eat, socialise, play, (dare I say) mate, all at roughly certain times-of-day. Why is that? All life on Earth has evolved to cope with daily, rhythmic changes in the environment (e.g. sunlight & temperature). The product of this is daily, rhythmic change in behaviour, immune function, metabolism and a myriad of other biological traits.

 One of the most fundamental ecological interactions is that between hosts and parasites. I explore how rhythms in hosts and parasites interact and why they might have evolved. I use malaria parasites to examine how rhythms shape transmission, and field crickets to understand how sexual selection might result in a change in daily rhythms. 

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Education

2017 - Present PhD Evolutionary Biology, Immunology and Infection Research

      Thesis: Drastic times call for drastic measures: timing in host-parasite interactions

2015 - 2017 MSc Biological Sciences (4.0 GPA), Wright State University.

      Thesis: Infection prevalence and vector ecology of Ixodes scapularis in northeastern Wisconsin

2010 - 2015 BSc Biological Sciences (Minor, Spanish) Wright State University.


Projects:

  • 2013-2014 Anemone bleaching experiments
  • 2013 Marine research in Akumal, Mexico
  • 2013 Woodpecker ecology and population dynamics

Awards

2017 Darwin Trust of Edinburgh PhD Studentship, The University of Edinburgh

2015 & 2016 Graduate Teaching Assistantship, Wright State University