Christina Bergey is an assistant professor in the Department of Genetics, where her research uses population, evolutionary, and functional genomic approaches to understand the effects of past selection on modern medically-relevant phenotypes. Her research group tests evolutionary hypotheses in humans, non-human primates, and disease vectors.
Bergey and her research group have a particular interest in understanding the factors that influence infection and mortality from infectious diseases that disproportionally impact the poor and marginalized. An increasing focus of her research is the role of climate change and habitat disturbance on infectious disease risk.
The Bergey research group partners with in-country researchers and prioritizes scientific capacity building in the places they work, which is most often in tropical Africa, including Uganda and Madagascar. Engagement with participant communities as well as local hospitals and NGOs is also a vital cornerstone of the group’s research.
The Bergey research group’s current major projects include: understanding the co-evolution of malaria, its human and primate hosts, and mosquito vectors; determining how viruses that cause acute respiratory tract infections interact with the host immune system, other co-infecting viruses, and the microbiome; investigating human adaptations to life in the rainforests of Africa, including the evolution of small body size (the “pygmy” phenotype) in hunter-gatherers; and applying comparative methods across primates to understand human medical conditions.
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