Research Programme Coordinator
- Immunogenetics and immunogenomics
- Comparative and evolutionary genomics
- Genetic resistance to infectious disease, host and pathogen interactions
- To obtain novel information on genetic mechanisms of infectious diseases in domestic animals.
- Definition of the role of host genetics in infectious diseases.
- Analysis of genetic diversity, evolution and selection in selected immunity-related genes based on comparative immunogenomic analysis.
- Analysis of genetic mechanisms of host and pathogen interactions.
Content of research
The very general frame of our work is the study of host and pathogen interactions. The vision is based on the idea that genomics can bring new insights into this area as illustrated by the scheme (Rausell and Telenti, Current Opinion in Immunology 2014, 30:32–38).
Pathogens are considered to be one of major driving forces of evolution. Evolutionary interactions of hosts with their pathogens result in genomic signatures. Our research group can contribute to this aim by studying selected animal models. We want to further develop our expertise in host genetics/genomics and would like to take benefit of the Ceitec project for collaborations allowing to address these complex issues.
Specific areas of interest
The activities of the research group will cover three interrelated areas that also can be identified in the above scheme.
Comparative and evolutionary immunogenomics. Genes coding for proteins in direct physical interaction with pathogen-derived molecules are suitable models for analyzing host immunogenome and pathogen interactions. Based on our previous expertise, we will focus on the Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and Natural killer cell receptor (NKR) coding regions in selected animal model species.
Population immunogenetic diversity and infections in animals. Natural migrations, human-mediated transfers and trade caused that populations encountered distinct pathogens. Natural selection then favored alleles advantageous in the new ecosystems. This history can now influence susceptibility to infectious diseases. Integrating population genomic approaches with molecular immunology and large-scale functional annotations can contribute to identification of polymorphisms underlying susceptibility to infections.
Genetics of susceptibility to infections in animal models. It has been shown that wildlife and domestic animals are the major sources of infectious diseases for human populations. Studies of selected animal infections can bring new information not only on important animal diseases but also on their human counterparts/homologues.