Anna Drews



My general interest in biology was quickly aimed towards evolutionary biology throughout both my undergraduate and MSc studies. During my PhD studies, which I started in February 2014, I am working with host-parasite interaction focusing on the adaptation of the host’s defense by studying one particular component of the immune system; the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC).

The function of MHC is to bind and present pathogens and it is one of the most polymorphic gene complexes found in vertebrates. One of the forces thought to maintain this high level of genetic variation is host-pathogen interactions. To date it is clear that passerine birds have a larger number of MHC genes than most other vertebrates although the function and purpose of these multiple gene copies are to a large extent unknown.

I will investigate this by performing gene expression studies as well as connecting the expression to different kinds of infections (e.g. avian influenza and avian malaria). The methods I use are mainly next generation sequencing, in form of amplicon sequencing, and quantitative PCR. My study species are two passerine birds, house sparrow and siskin. However, I will not only work with passerine birds but also with mallards. By comparing the organization and expression of MHC in mallards, house sparrows and siskins I hope to gain a better understanding of the enormous MHC diversity found in passerine birds.

Recent research outputs

Julia Höglund, Mindaugas Mitkus, Peter Olsson, Olle Lind, Anna Drews, Natasha I. Bloch, Almut Kelber & Maria Strandh, 2019, In: Vision Research. 158, p. 109-119 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Anna Drews, 2018 Oct 29, 171 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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