genetics of immune response to infectious pathogens
By far the most influential force on the human genome has been strong selective pressure from pathogens and infectious disease. The Red Queen hypothesis describes this competitive arms race between a pathogen and its host, in which both must out-evolve the other for survival. The footprints from these combats can be seen across the human genome and are not identical across individuals. While it is necessary for the individual to be exposed to pathogen, it is not always sufficient for infection. This heterogeneity in infection, as well as the sequelae, has been seen in the literature.
I am currently involved in elucidating the genetic susceptibility to infectious disease through numerous international collaborations, such as the development of enteric infection within Bangladeshi infants and HIV disease progression within a community in Rakai, Uganda. By integrating epidemiological data with various genomic information, such as a genome-wide genotyping array, viral genomics, or antibody repertoires, we are able to see a more complete picture of the underlying biology.