Submitted to: Review Article
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: June 23, 2009
Publication Date: August 15, 2009
Citation: Evans, J.D. 2009. Host-parasite interactions: Resist or tolerate but never stop running. Review Article. 5(6)721-722.
A Conference exploring ‘The impact of the environment on innate immunity: the threat of diseases’ was held 4-9 May 2009 in Obergurgl, Austria, thanks to support from the European Science Foundation (ESF), Innsbruck University and the Austrian Science Foundation. The goals of the conference were to explore how the outcomes of host-parasite interactions depend on variation across individuals, their parasites, and the environment in which they both find themselves. The conference built on a 2007 meeting (Carpenter et al., 2008) at the same scenic alpine venue by expanding discussions of immune mechanisms to cover on-the-ground (or in-the-pond) interactions that help shape the lives of organisms. Central themes were the inherent costs of mounting an immune response, the ability of some organisms to preempt infection by ‘priming’ their immune systems, the fact that parasites learn to evade immune responses over time, and the use of theory to predict when diseases will get out of hand. Many of the systems presented had clear impacts on human health, agriculture, or the maintenance of complex ecosystems. There was common ground throughout in developing methodologies and embracing what one of the organizers termed the ‘interactome’ between hosts and those which would exploit them.