Zombie ants and plants & TV series The Last of Us
Members of the media may directly contact the following experts:
Allyson MacLean (English and French)
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science
Dr. MacLean's research focuses upon understanding the ways in which microbes can alter the natural growth and development of plants, sometimes to the detriment of plants, sometimes to their benefit. Her work includes prior research on so-called "Zombie plants" that have been infected with a bacterial pathogen that hijacks the way plants normally grow and flower...to the benefit of the pathogen and the insects that feed upon infected plants!
Rajendhran Rajakumar (English only)
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, and Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine.
The Rajakumar Lab uses many species of ants as a model to understand how genes and environmental factors interact during development to expand our knowledge of how trait variation arises in an evolutionary and a maladaptive disease context. Dr. Rajakumar studies the influence of the environment on ant development and physiology, including the ant species known to be infected and influenced by the fungus of interest in the HBO show that can turn them into 'zombies'.