Welcome to The Graham Group

Ecological and evolutionary immunology

We aim to understand how natural selection has shaped strategies for both host defense and parasite transmission. We are especially interested in discovering why hosts are so heterogeneous in immune responsiveness. Our laboratory methods will be familiar to immunologists, but our questions as well as our quantitative methods are drawn from evolutionary ecology.

Of the myriad molecules that power the mammalian immune system, our favorites are cytokines and antibodies. Cytokines are intercellular signalling molecules that determine the type and magnitude of parasite-killing mechanisms enabled; antibodies are among the most potent and specific of those mechanisms. Thanks to excellent recent graduate alumnae, we have studied defense mechanisms of insect hosts, too. We assess effects of strong responses upon both host and parasite fitness, and the selection pressures that shape the type, speed and specificity of responses.

For more details on our research, please see our Research and Papers pages, and the websites of the EEB Disease Group, the Princeton Global Health Program, and the NSF-funded Research Coordination Network on Infectious Disease Evolution Across Scales. For glimpses of our field sites, collaborators, dinner parties, and lanturnip (!), please see our photo galleries.

We recently hosted the Ecology & Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID) conference here at Princeton, 10-13 June 2019. As the photos attest, much fun was had, despite the small matter of a norovirus-like outbreak!! Our group is also interested in evolutionary medicine and therefore in the mission of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine & Public Health.