The Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Prize Lecture 2009
Professor Sunetra Gupta, University of Oxford
One of the biggest challenges faced by pathogens in their bid for survival is the host immune response. Within an infected individual, pathogen populations face direct attack by the different processes of the immune system; at a community level, immunity affects pathogen fitness by reducing the pool of susceptible persons. Professor Gupta will discuss how pathogens have evolved under this form of natural selection and found solutions that allow them to persist within individuals and within communities using examples from malaria, bacterial meningitis and influenza.
Professor Gupta is Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford. Professor Gupta's main area of interest is the evolution of diversity in pathogens, with particular reference to the infectious disease agents that are responsible for malaria, influenza and bacterial meningitis. She has recently been awarded the Zoological Society of London Scientific medal in 2008. Professor Gupta also has an interest in the public understanding of science and the connections between science and literature. She has been longlisted for the Orange Book Prize in 2000 and was awarded the Southern Arts UK Prize for Literature in 2000. Professor Gupta was awarded the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award based on her scientific achievements, suitability as a role model and her proposal to promote women in STEM.