Caitlin Pepperell

Position title: Assistant Professor


Phone: 608-262-6167

Ecological and evolutionary interactions between humans and human pathogens

5301 Microbial Sciences Building
Lab Website
Research Interests
Ecological and evolutionary interactions between humans and human pathogens.
Research Fields
Computational, Systems & Synthetic Biology, Evolutionary & Population Genetics, Genomics & Proteomics, Bacteria, Fungi, Human, mouse & rat

Research Description:
Humans interact with billions of micro-organisms, and the vast majority of these interactions are inconsequential or beneficial to us. Disease results when the micro-organism has the capacity for virulence and response by the host is inadequate or self destructive. How do these antagonistic interactions evolve? What evolutionary forces are responsible for the diversity in outcomes when pathogens encounter hosts? How do micro-organisms become adapted to a pathogenic lifestyle?

These are some of the questions we are interested in. Work in the lab centers on analysis of genomic data sets from natural populations of humans and human pathogens. For the most part we focus on granulomatous diseases (e.g. TB, invasive fungal infections) that result from complex and sustained interactions between pathogen and host, and are associated with diverse outcomes. We use a variety of different data types (e.g. epidemiological, historical, ethnographic, archeological) to contextualize analyses of population genetic data. We also work with collaborators to develop ecological models and address these questions using integrated ecological and evolutionary approaches.

Representative Publications:
Search PubMed for more publications by Caitlin Pepperell

Local epidemic history as a predictor of tuberculosis incidence is Saskatchewan Aboriginal communities Pepperell C, Chang AH, Wobeser W, Parsonnet J, Hoeppner VH. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2011 Jul;15(7):899-905.

Dispersal of Mycobacterium tuberculosis via the Canadian fur trade Pepperell CS, Granka JM, Alexander DC, Behr MA, Chui L, Gordon J, Guthrie JL, Jamieson FB, Langlois-Klassen D, Long R, Nguyen D, Wobeser W, Feldman MW. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Apr 19;108(16):6526-31.

Bacterial genetic signatures of human social phenomena among M. tuberculosis from an Aboriginal Canadian population. Pepperell C, Hoeppner VH, Lipatov M, Wobeser W, Schoolnik GK, Feldman MW. Mol Biol Evol. 2010 Feb;27(2):427-40.