Disease ecology and wildlife health
Pathogens and parasites constantly exert a wide-ranging, but highly varied and variable effect on individual living organisms, populations, and complete ecosystems. Parasites and pathogens, as well as their complex relationship systems, are also integral and indispensable parts and shapers of our contemporary ecosystems and environment. The effects of infections range widely, from asymptomatic parasite harbouring to serious diseases with a fatal outcome. The specific form of disease manifestation is determined by interactions between the host, the parasite (pathogen), the potential intermediate host and the environment, thus the emergence of new diseases, or the expansion of existing ones is the result of changes affecting one or more elements of the system. Since these effects are mainly generated by anthropogenic factors and global processes, we are currently living in the age of endemic and pandemic human and animal diseases (e.g. bird flu, West Nile fever, SARS, SARS-CoV2, EBOLA, African swine fever, tuberculosis, malaria, etc.), facing their extensive social (social, economic, political) and ecological consequences.
Our multidisciplinary disease ecology research aims to open new perspectives in the monitoring, prediction and control of infectious diseases through the integration of human health, animal health, ecological and agricultural research approaches. We perform complex studies of public health, animal health, nature conservation and wildlife management issues and develop intervention, treatment and diagnostic methods. We investigate newly emerging epidemics caused by pathogens with high zoonotic potential, with a focus on the specific environmental and ecological conditions necessary for their introduction and establishment (e.g. West Nile fever and avian influenza), the epidemiological role of wildlife and arthropod vectors, and the systems formed by viruses, host species and mosquito vector species in line with the One Health concept.
Health and Safety National Laboratory (Invasion Biology Division)
Within the framework of EBNL, we investigate the epidemiological and public health role of invasive species, factors influencing the environmental occurrence, survival and spread of emerging pathogens and their vectors, as well as the mechanisms of their impact on individuals, populations and wider ecosystems. Our interdisciplinary and synthesizing research approach combines the tools of molecular biology, genetics, microbiology, pathology, epidemiology and ecology.