About

The Farming Pathogens blog was created February 2009 in support of a newly published book.

Farming Human Pathogens: Ecological Resilience and Evolutionary Process (Springer, 2009) applies information theory to the evolution and emergence of human pathogens. Specifically, within an information formalism the authors describe how punctuated shifts in mesoscale ecosystems can entrain patterns of gene expression and pathogen evolution.

The development is applied to several infectious diseases that have evolved in response to the world as humans have made it. Many pathogens emerging from underneath epidemiological control are ‘farmed’ in the metaphorical sense, as the evolution of drug resistant HIV makes clear, but some, like avian influenza, emerge quite literally as the result of new practices in industrial farming. In that context, effective disease control necessarily involves broad economic and social reform for reasons embedded in the very basics of pathogen evolution.

The blog here addresses ideas introduced in the book, but also extends out into discussions of the social and evolutionary dynamics of disease as new pathogens emerge or old ones reemerge. It also focuses on the context of the science used to characterize pathogens.

6 Responses to “About”

  1. This is a very important and wonderful blog. The contents should be turned into a book immediately. As a writer I am willing to contribute my “labor” to make it happen. The degree of misinformation concerning Swine Flu is appalling. We need to take action immediately because fear is driving the behavior of uniformed persons. I can be contacted at HarryKang@gmail.com.
    Dean Taylor

  2. matangmanok Says:

    This blog is amazing. I am no academic so it will take me a while to process what you’ve written here.

    Jim

  3. farmingpathogens Says:

    Thank you for the kind words. More cool stuff in the works.

  4. You may be interested in reading my own thoughts on H1N1, admittedly colored by the recent time i have spent in the ICU with my husband who was almost killed by the virus: http://sketchythoughts.blogspot.com/2009/07/h1n1-and-us.html

  5. Jennifer Shaffer Says:

    I have been pondering this idea (flaws of biosecure, et cetera) for a couple of weeks now. I’m not an academic, so some of your writing is hard for me to fully understand (i.e., I haven’t read any of your referenced books). But, I am also one of those people who love to leap at ideas and start building connections, so I’ve been kept quite busy. I really enjoy reading what you write and hope you will continue:-) I read this article in the online version of the NYTimes today and wanted to share it, although you may know it already:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/world/africa/20cairo.html
    I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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