UCLA Science Faculty Research Colloquium

“Host-seeking behaviors of parasitic nematodes.” presented by Elissa Hallem, assistant professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
4:00 PM
Physics and Astronomy Building, Room 1425

Dr. Hallem is an assistant professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics, and was selected last year as a MacArthur Fellow. Her research is focused on understanding the sensory neural circuits of free-living and parasitic worms. She and her research team focus on parasitic nematodes, commonly known as roundworms, and another tiny worm known as Caenorhabditis elegans in their research. They study the neurobiology of host–seeking behavior, including the neural circuits and signaling pathways that underlie parasitic nematodes’ ability to detect and respond to olfactory cues from a host. In addition, her laboratory is studying hosts’ immune response to nematode infection. For this research, she and her research team use insect-parasitic nematodes as a model parasite and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model host.

Many parasites, including many parasitic nematodes, actively search for hosts to infect by following trails of host-emitted odors. Dr. Hallem will discuss the odor-driven host-seeking behaviors of nematode parasites of insects, humans, and other animals, as well as her efforts to understand the neural circuits that underlie them.

The research colloquium is free to the public, and is designed to promote interdisciplinary research and to be of interest to an informed general audience.