How does a parasite create zombie-like behavior?

Charissa De Bekker

Pennsylvania State University

$4,507Pledged
104%Funded
$4,306Goal
0Days
Success!
This project was funded on:
31 December 2013
May 3, 2015
Manuscript submitted!
Well, it finally happened. After an immense amount of work, and almost a year-and-a-half after this project has been fully funded, our manuscript has been submitted. Obviously, to an open access journal. I just received an email that an editor has been assigned who will send it to two or three...
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Aug 6, 2014
Sneak peak into another new paper of ours and a project update
Hi everyone, This time a lab note from Munich Germany! Yes, I moved across the pond to Europe and am now working from a different university: the Ludwig Maximilians University (or the LMU). Not because I didn't like Penn State anymore, in fact I was quite sad to leave, but because this is...
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Jun 7, 2014
New paper published
Hi everyone, I promised in my former lab note that I would share my paper with you as soon as it would be published online. Well, it was officially published yesterday so it's online for everyone that is interested in reading it. It was not published open access, so it is behind a pay wall...
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Mar 14, 2014
Update: Optimizing and the first pilot experiments
Hi everyone, I apologize for it taking so long to finally get around to writing the first lab update. My crowdfunding campaign had other things, such as writing and rewriting manuscripts, put on hold so I had to get those out of the way first. Hopefully this will result in me sharing...
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Jan 14, 2014
Really cool video about our lab
Hi all, I thought I'd share this really cool video with you which was aired by Penn State's Big Ten Network last night. In this video David, Lauren and Emelia talk about studying parasites that manipulate behavior (obviously ;)) and the work that especially Lauren and Emelia are doing by...
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Dec 30, 2013
We've reached the funding goal! Let's start doing some science now :-)
Hi everyone, By now you've all already heard that we've made it to the funding goal! Thanks to all 105 of you (actually a little bit more because some of the pledges were made by multiple people together) we can start to do the experiments to discover the genes that are involved in...
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Dec 28, 2013
Great news! A different way of backing the project. We almost...
Today was a very very good day for the project. Many more people learned about it and not only visited and shared the page or the superb earthsky.org article about it, but a lot of you decided to back it or increase your donations. So, to all...
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Dec 20, 2013
Happy Holidays and thanks for your support!
Okay, so I just spent some time making this very cheesy zombie ant themed Christmas card. Some important decisions had to be made: antlers or Santa hat? and don't even get me started on finding the perfect ornaments to make the whole thing tasteful. However, here it is. And the Dreaming of a...
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Dec 17, 2013
Ophiocordyceps fungi in the lab and in the wild
Many of you now know what ants infected by Ophiocordyceps look like. Well, we should actually specify that a little bit better: many of you now know what Carpenter ants (ants of the genus Camponotus) infected with fungi of the complex Ophiocordyceps unilateralis look...
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Dec 12, 2013
What would you like to see in the new lab note?
Hi there, I am thinking about posting new lab notes. Therefore, I would like your input please. Would you guys like to have a closer look at what the different fungal species we have look like outside of the ants (now you know what they look like when they infect ants)? Or would you like...
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Dec 9, 2013
Ask Me anything on Reddit today!
Hi everyone, I am planning to spend my day answering any questions you might have on the subject of parasitic behavioral manipulation and ants manipulated by fungi of the genus Ophiocordyceps in particular. Next to the things we do know at this point in time, there are also a...
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Dec 6, 2013
Taking the Laser Capture Microscope for a test drive: Cutting...
To make sure I will hit the ground running when this Microryza project gets funded I am already making some preparations. In my former lab notes I told you that I managed to figure out how to exactly make sections of infected ant heads to be able to collect parasitic fungal cells from them....
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Nov 30, 2013
The Campaign has been extended! Let's get this project funded!
Hi Everyone, I am happy to announce that the campaign for this Microryza Project has been extended! The Microryza Team thought that with a little bit...
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Nov 25, 2013
Inside a dead, infected ant
So, by now you've all seen what a by Ophiocordyceps infected, manipulated and killed ant looks like: Published by Andersen...
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Nov 20, 2013
Sectioning of diseased ant heads: first hurdle has been taken!
To be able to pull off the project described on this Microryza page and look at the parasite genes expressed during manipulation it is of great importance that I can sample the fungal cells that are surrounding ant brains. To be able to collect these cells I need to make very thin (micrometer...
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Nov 12, 2013
Fieldwork: The good, the bad, and the muddy
I received the request to give some more background on our fieldwork. Not necessarily on the results but on how we spend our days in the field. This is actually a very good question, because though every single member of our team is always thrilled by the prospect of spending time in the...
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Nov 8, 2013
24 days left!
22 backers, almost 2000 page views (I am loving the fact I can check these stats every day) and 24 days to go. A huge thanks to the awesome first 22 for supporting my project. You guys rock! I'll make sure to keep on updating this page regularly for you guys. And if you have any questions or...
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Nov 4, 2013
From the field to the lab
The zombie ant phenomenon has been rather well studied from a natural history perspective. Most of what we know results from spending months in the field making observations and collecting samples. Members of our lab have travelled all over the world to study and collect various species of...
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