Dr. Kim Valenta \”The Parasite Manipulation Hypothesis: Can it explain crazy cat lady syndrome?\”


2:00 pm-3:00 pm
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284 Frazier Rogers Hall
1741 Museum Road
Gainesville, Fl 32611


The parasite manipulation hypothesis posits that parasites should manipulate host behavior to facilitate transmission to the next host. Indeed, any parasite manipulation leading to increased transmission or reproductive success should be selected for, however, outside of a few examples, there are very few documented cases. Here, I apply the framework of the parasite manipulation hypothesis to the question of Toxoplasmosis gondii, a parasite with a very interesting life cycle, that manipulates one of its intermediate hosts to increase transmission. I am interested in trying to understand if this parasite can further manipulate humans that changes their behavior in such a way as to increase definitive host populations, in this case, domestic cats. I am also very interested in fostering a collaboration to create a formal model for the idea.

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