Centre of Excellence in Biological Interactions Research

Main funder

Funder's project number284666

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 2 723 940,00

Funding program

Project timetable

Project start date01/01/2015

Project end date31/12/2018


With this proposal we apply for funding for next three years of our research program on Biological Interactions. Our passion emanates from the common scientific and educational interests of the principal investigators who bring together their complementary skills to combine approaches from disciplines as diverse as virology, mathematical modeling, ecology, and evolution, but centering on a single concept, that of biological interactions. We investigate interactions vertically across all levels of organization (from genes to societies and species) and horizontally within each level (between genes, between individuals etc.), to quantify evolutionary responses under different selection regimes in settings that capture real-world complexity. Conjointly we examine the influences of multiway interactions on the coevolution between biological entities, such as hosts and their parasites or predators and their prey. We have used a range of approaches, capitalizing on our expertise in the use of laboratory microcosms for experimental evolution in bacteria and their predator protozoans, viral genomics to manipulate virulence in phages and their hosts, genomics to analyze the genetic underpinning of adaptive responses to selective agents, training methods to introduce novel signals, and a range of field populations subject to long-term surveys. We have generated new theory to model the outcomes under different settings. Our work has a strong element of experimental manipulation, hence allowing conclusions regarding causalities. A particular strength in our work is that we use organisms in situ in their natural environment, or freshly collected specimens ex situ. Together we have a unique blend of complementary expertise to merge evolutionary and ecological theory and molecular biology with insights from expertly designed experiments. Our research groups are highly international, representing 12 nationalities and a good blend of members at different stages in their careers. Our study objectives also have important applied value, as the fight against diseases, invasive alien species, and solving conservation problems that ultimately rely on understanding the causalities underlying ecological processes and adaptation. A key target of ours is to gain insights in the interplay between fish farming and changes in the virulence of fish pathogens, how the colony collapse disorder of honey bees can be treated in the future and how to fight antibiotic resistance.

Principal Investigator

Primary responsible unit

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Last updated on 2024-17-04 at 12:49