German Fellowship Goes to Stowers Postdoc for Research of Host-Parasite Interactions

Robert Peuss, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate Robert Peuss, PhD, was awarded a highly competitive and well-regarded German fellowship for his research on the Mexican cavefish Astyanax mexicanus. Peuss’ research proposal to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) landed him a two-year grant that totals about $135,000.

Host-parasites are a major driving force in evolution. The loss of parasite diversity in modern society correlates with an increase in autoimmune diseases. This correlation suggests that this co-evolutionary dynamic created a necessity for a vertebrate host to develop a functional immune system. Peuss has identified Astyanax as a suitable model organism to investigate this emerging topic in the field of evolutionary medicine and is addressing the question of how natural changes in parasite diversity alter the evolutionary trajectory of the host immune system. Peuss’ work in the Rohner Lab will provide foundational knowledge of the immune system of this fascinating model organism