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.
Westwood, M. L., O’Donnell, A. J., de Bekker, C., Lively, C. M., Zuk, M., & Reece, S. E. (2019). The evolutionary ecology of circadian rhythms in infection. Nature ecology & evolution, 1. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-0831-4
Explores how hosts use rhythms to defend against infection, why parasites have rhythms and whether parasites can manipulate host clocks to their own ends.
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.
- 2013-2014 Anemone bleaching experiments
- 2013 Marine research in Akumal, Mexico
- 2013 Woodpecker ecology and population dynamics
2017 Darwin Trust of Edinburgh PhD Studentship, The University of Edinburgh
2015 & 2016 Graduate Teaching Assistantship, Wright State University