In the Mitchell Lab

The Mitchell lab at UNC Chapel Hill studies the ecology of infectious disease.
Several researchers have confirmed that as biodiversity decreases,diseases have increased.
One goal of the Mitchell lab is to understand why diseases increase as biodiversity decreases.
To do this they study a disease system that includes three main components; pathogens, vectors and hosts.

Cereal Barley Yellow Dwarf VirusA pathogen is an organism that infects a host and causes disease, in this system the pathogens are viruses called cereal/barley yellow dwarf viruses, which you'll see on this site as "C/BYDV" or "the virus".
an aphidA vector is an organism that spreads the virus. The vector carries the pathogen from host to host. In this system insects called aphids are the vectors.
grassA host is an organism that gets infected by the pathogen and gets "sick." In this system grasses are hosts.

model system button

Aphids can pick up the virus when they feed on an infected plant, then they can pass on the virus when they feed on a healthy plant. The system is a model system used to help understand other diseases. What's a model system? Click the Model Systems button to find out!

learn more button

Another cool research topic of the lab is what happens when more than one species of pathogen infects a host or vector. To see a description of this and other current projects in the Mitchell lab, click on learn more!

or click NEXT to continue on this site: