I am a PhD-student working with bacterial diseases in natural hosts. The diversity and variety of infectious diseases is enormous. Vector-borne diseases that typically circulate between a vertebrate host and an arthropod vector are an important part of this diversity and are especially frequent in cases where pathogens in recent times have emerged and colonized new geographical areas.
My work focus on vector-borne diseases in natural populations and the effect of multiple infections on virulence and evolution of diseases. The main study system is Borrelia afzelii in wild mammals such as voles and mice. Borrelia afzelii is a spirochete bacteria that is spread by ticks and is one of the species causing Lyme-borreliosis in humans. Within B. afzelii several different strains occur and multiple infections with two or more strains occurring at the same time in one host are common. What effects does the different strain have on each other? Are some strains more competitive than others? How did the relationship between the diseases and the hosts evolve?