Welcome to the Lazzaro Lab at Cornell University! My research is focused on the evolutionary genomics of insect-pathogen interactions, emphasizing such questions as how natural selection operates on host immune systems and why individuals vary in susceptibility or resistance to infection. In my group, we like to think of the host as an assemblage of interacting physiological processes, where the immune system is embedded in the overall physiological context of the host. This motivates us to consider effects of abiotic environment on immune defense and means that genetic determination of variation in resistance may lie in genes outside of the canonical immune system. This thinking also extends directly to the evolution and mechanism of life history constraints. Importantly, the host is itself the “environment” in which an infecting pathogen lives, and differences in host physiological state or abiotic environment can alter microbial behavior and therefore ultimate outcomes of infection. Our overarching goal is to consider host and pathogen as interacting components of a single system, shaped by the environment, that ultimately determines the outcome of infection and disease. We primarily use bacterial infection in Drosophila melanogaster as an experimental model to deconstruct elements of the unified system, studying the components in tractable modular pieces. Understanding the dynamics of unified host-pathogen-environment systems is crucial, because these dynamics determine the ecology and evolution of disease in natural settings with consequence at higher biological scales.
Read more at our Research page.

About the Principal Investigator

Brian P. Lazzaro

Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor, Cornell University
Departments of Entomology and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Director, Cornell Institute of Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease (CIHMID)
-- to be launched in January 2017

B.S., Genetics, 1995
University of California, Davis

Ph.D., Population Genetics, 2002
Pennsylvania State University

Curriculum vitae
Our lab accepts graduate students through the Graduate Training Fields of Entomology, Genetics & Development, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, and Comparative Biomedical Sciences.

I teach a course in Ecological Genetics and am one of multiple instructors involved in teaching introductory Evolutionary Biology and Diversity.

I also co-chair the AP Biology test development committee that prepares the college equivalency exam for approximately 235,000 high school students annually.
Lazzaro Lab News

Halloween 2016

Halloween 2016 was especially festive in the Lazzaro Lab! More photos here.                                                                  

Lazzaro Lab News archive