Based at the Moffitt Cancer Center, Florida, Cancer Ecology is a small research group led by David Basanta. We are mathematical modellers who work with biologists and clinicians, trying to understand the ecology of tumors and the evolutionary dynamics of cancer progression and resistance to treatment.

Pandemics

Is not about cancer but is about diseases and evolution so I thought it would be worth mentioning it here. Reading the BBC I found about this report from the WHO that says that infectious diseases are emerging at a rate of one per year. The increasing rate of globalisation, with people travelling with increased frequency to all corners of the world means that diseases can spread at a significantly much faster rate.

The release from the WHO produced headlines in most of the media around the world (for instance, the Spanish press). There was also this TV debate that counted with the presence of Paul Nurse, the Nobel laureate.

Up to now nothing new but it is reasonable that as human population grows the chances of one of us getting in contact with the wrong virus at the wrong time increase. Also, as we travel more often to more places the chance of transmitting the virus or disease increase significantly.

So what is the best defence (short of stopping people from travelling)? My guess is that involves having, as accurate as possible, models of diseases spreading if we know where the focus of the disease is and the spreading characteristics of the disease. Another thing is that it probably helps to have populations that are genetically diverse. Since a disease is unlikely to affect everybody in a genetically diverse population, that information could be useful to find out how to better fight the disease.

Summer school in Dundee

Public debate on complexity and evolution

Public debate on complexity and evolution