James P. Holland Lecture Series

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Vanessa Ezenwa
Odum School of Ecology
Department of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Georgia

Worms, germs, and buffalo: a coinfection story

Concurrent infection by multiple parasites can shape the trajectory and outcome of infectious diseases. For example, coinfections with parasitic worms can affect the progression and severity of microbial infections, including many viral and bacterial infections. Although an increasing number of studies are investigating the consequences of worm-microbe coinfections in laboratory settings, we still know very little about the repercussions of coinfection in natural environments. This is despite the fact that a majority of hosts (including humans) are infected with multiple parasites simultaneously. To understand the impacts of worm coinfection in natural populations, my laboratory studies interactions between gastrointestinal worm infections and bovine tuberculosis in free-ranging African buffalo. Using a coupled experimental and longitudinal study design, our work is revealing that both active infection with worms, and the host's constitutive response to worm infection, have profound implications for the outcome of tuberculosis at the individual and population levels.

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Sponsors: This lecture is sponsored by Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs; Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs; Office of the Vice Provost for Research; College of Arts and Sciences; Department of Biology; and Medical Sciences Program.

Between 1979 and 1998, Professor Holland was also a seven-time recipient of the Senior Class Award for Teaching Excellence in Biology and Dedication to Undergraduates, an award voted on by senior biology majors.

He worked tirelessly to address the needs of minority students on the Bloomington campus. Professor Holland joined forces with Professor Herman Hudson to found the Minority Achievers Program and the Mathematics and Science Scholarship Program. The programs were renamed in 2003 to honor the efforts of these two men: MAP became the Herman C. Hudson Scholars Program, and MASS is now the James P. Holland Scholars Program.

Holland worked with other biology staff members to create the Summer Enrichment Program, which was designed to interest Indiana minority high school students in science by bringing them to campus for classes and hands-on laboratory experience. He led the program, which was renamed in his honor in 2000, from its inception. Prior to his death in 1998, a one-time-only minority fellowship was created in Holland’s name. This award was used as the model for the endowed fellowship that exists today.