Dr. Kayla King named Canada Excellence Research Chair

November 16, 2023

Two newly appointed, world-leading researchers with UBC Science have been named Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC).

Dr. Kayla King has been appointed the CERC in Evolutionary Dynamics of Host-Pathogen Interactions, while Dr. Corey Stephenson, who will join UBC in 2024, will hold the CERC in Innovative Synthetic Methods for Translational Chemistry.

As the CERC in Evolutionary Dynamics of Host-Pathogen Interactions, Dr. King’s research focus is on evolutionary and ecological interactions between animal hosts and microbial pathogens. Microbial pathogens are tiny, often invisible organisms, such as viruses and bacteria, that can cause diseases in humans and animals.

Climate change is causing extreme heating and altering the distribution of microbial pathogens, while associated human activity and biodiversity loss are increasing human-animal contact—factors that might contribute to infectious diseases becoming more prevalent.

Dr. King’s research has implications for predicting virulence, transmission, and the tempo of evolution as microbial pathogens emerge in animals or move to new areas with shifting climates.

“My research aims to better understand the evolution of infection and immunity in a changing world,” says Dr. King. “The program will assess the impacts of climate change on pathogen evolution and host susceptibility, and study pathogen evolution after jumps across animal species. We hope to better predict changes in virulence and transmission, informing wildlife conservation, and helping us get ahead in the race against future pandemics.”

Dr. King, who received her undergraduate degree in Biology from UBC, returned after 10 years of teaching and research in Oxford University’s Department of Biology and Christ Church College. She is a professor in UBC’s departments of zoology, and microbiology and immunology.

Read More

  • Announcement

UBC Crest The official logo of the University of British Columbia. Urgent Message An exclamation mark in a speech bubble. Caret An arrowhead indicating direction. Arrow An arrow indicating direction. Arrow in Circle An arrow indicating direction. Arrow in Circle An arrow indicating direction. Chats Two speech clouds. Facebook The logo for the Facebook social media service. Information The letter 'i' in a circle. Instagram The logo for the Instagram social media service. External Link An arrow entering a square. Linkedin The logo for the LinkedIn social media service. Location Pin A map location pin. Mail An envelope. Menu Three horizontal lines indicating a menu. Minus A minus sign. Telephone An antique telephone. Plus A plus symbol indicating more or the ability to add. Search A magnifying glass. Twitter The logo for the Twitter social media service. Youtube The logo for the YouTube video sharing service.