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Topic description / abstract:
Social insects fight disease as a collective. Their colonies are protected against disease by a combination of the individual defences of all colony members (their individual hygiene and immune systems) and their collective actions performed jointly or towards one another, leading to a protection of the colony. This social immunity comprises actions to reduce pathogen load of the colony and to prevent transmission along the social interaction networks of colony members.
Sylvia Cremer works at the interface of behavioural ecology and evolutionary immunology and uses ants as a model system to understand collective disease defences. After her PhD at the University of Regensburg and a postdoc at the University of Copenhagen she was Junior Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Berlin. After her Habilitation at the University of Regensburg she moved to the IST Austria, where she is full Professor since 2015.