Samantha MellingerDoctoral Student
Throughout my studies, I developed a particular interest for evolutionary biology and especially for genetics. During my Master degree I have been involved in several projects about population genetics and mate choice such as in the Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) and then especially in the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus).
For my Master project, I wanted to focus more on host-pathogen interactions and I had the opportunity to look at temporal and spatial variation of avian malaria in house sparrows (Passer domesticus). In relation to this project, I wanted to continue and to learn more about host-pathogen interactions and especially about the host’s immune system.
My PhD project mainly focuses on one key component of the adaptive immune system, the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) and a special function of it, which is the antigens presentation. The aim of the thesis is to investigate gene expression between different MHC gene copies in relation to disease such as avian malaria infection in two songbirds, the great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and the house sparrow.