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Daphne Du Maurier Building, Lecture Theatre A

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Edze Westra professorial inaugural lecture

An Environment and Sustainability Institute lecture
Date11 October 2019
Time16:00 to 18:30
PlaceDaphne Du Maurier Building, Lecture Theatre A

Drinks Reception: ESI, 1700-1830

The evolution of host defence mechanisms and how they can be overcome - insights from bacteria-phage interactions.” Chaired by Prof Angus Buckling and Vote of Thanks from Prof Dave Hodgson.

Edze Westra is Professor of Microbiology at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation (CEC) and the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) at the Penryn campus of the University of Exeter. Edze obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Molecular Life Sciences from Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and performed his Ph.D. in Microbiology at the same University under supervision of Prof. John van der Oost. During his Ph.D. he studied how CRISPR-Cas adaptive immune systems of bacteria work. This involved determining the structure and function of the protein components of this immune system, determining how these systems identify and destroy invading genetic parasites, how they discriminate self from non-self and how they are regulated. His PhD was awarded with distinction in 2013, and he received the 2013 Westenbrink Award, the 2014 Westerdijk Award and the 2016 Heineken Young Scientist Award for this work.

Funded by a Marie-Curie Fellowship, Westra joined the lab of Prof. Angus Buckling at the University of Exeter to study when CRISPR-Cas systems are favoured by natural selection and what their coevolutionary consequences are. In 2015, he received a NERC IRF and was offered a proleptic Lectureship by the University of Exeter. Grant funding from Wellcome Trust, BBSRC, NERC, Leverhulme Trust and ERC allowed Westra to develop a research program aimed at understanding more generally when and why different bacterial defence strategies are favoured one over another, and how they shape the ecology and evolution of bacterial populations and communities across a range of different environmental conditions. His team also studies how phages evolve in response to fluctuations in host availability, with an emphasis on horizontal versus vertical transmission strategies and how these strategies are controlled. Westra's lab combines theoretical and experimental approaches and operates at the interface of molecular microbiology and evolutionary ecology.

ProviderEnvironment and Sustainability Institute

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