My research focuses on the ecology/epidemiology and evolution of infectious disease. Parasites and pathogens continue to cause a major burden to human health, cause significant damage in agriculture, and are ubiquitous in nature. The overall aim is to understand the evolution of parasites, of host defense and how infectious organisms spread, persist and affect their host populations. We use a combination of evolutionary theory, experimental host-parasite systems, epidemiological models of wildlife and human tropical disease, and field entomology.
Our general theory and experiments concentrate on the role of ecology in the generation and maintenance of diversity in hosts and parasites, the impact of spatial structure on their evolution, and the implications of tolerance in contrast to resistance to infectious disease. We are increasingly interested in applying our evolutionary theory to the management of human and agricultural disease. In addition, we currently focus on a number of specific disease systems: Squirrel poxvirus; Social networks and TB in Badgers; TB in Wild boar populations; Honeybee varroa mite virus interactions; Dengue and emerging tropical viruses; Human and Avian Malaria.
Lynch PA, and M. Boots (2016) Using evolution to generate sustainable malaria control with spatial repellents. elife 5:e15416 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.15416.
Wilfert L., G. Long, H. C. Leggett, P. Schmid-Hempel, R. Butlin, S.J.M. Martin. M. Boots (2016). Deformed Wing Virus is a Recent Global Epidemic in Honeybees driven by Varroa Mites. Science, 351(6273), 594-597.
Ashby B & M. Boots (2015). Coevolution of parasite virulence and host mating strategies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(43) 13290-13295.
Best, A., A. White & M. Boots (2008). The maintenance of host variation in tolerance to pathogens and parasites. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105, 20786-20791.
Boots, M. & M. Mealor (2007). Local interactions select for lower infectivity. Science 315, 1184-1186.
Adams, B., E. C. Holmes, C. Zhang, M. P. Mammen Jr, S. Nimmannitya, S. Kalayanarooj & M. Boots (2006). Cross-protective immunity can account for the alternating epidemic pattern of dengue virus serotypes circulating in Bangkok. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 103, 14234-14239.
Boots, M, P.J. Hudson & A. Sasaki (2004). Large shifts in pathogen virulence relate to host population structure. Science 303, 842-844.