Dr Virginia Muriel Howick | Postdoctoral Fellow

Howick, Virginia Muriel

I am studying the genetic basis of genotype-by-genotype interactions between the Anopheles vector and the malaria parasite. Using a combination of transcriptomic and genomic data, I aim to identify how specific processes are altered by different vector-parasite combinations.

As an evolutionary biologist, I am generally interested in how individual organisms deal with environmental challenges and perturbations while balancing basic physiological demands. I am interested in the underlying genes and processes that influence these tradeoffs and how selection is acting on these systems, particularly those that relate to host-parasite and vector-parasite interactions. For my Ph.D., I used Drosophila melanogaster as a model system to understand the genetic architecture in immune defence against a bacterial pathogen as resistance and tolerance, and how selection is acting on the innate immune response.


  • Convergent Balancing Selection on an Antimicrobial Peptide in Drosophila.

    Unckless RL, Howick VM and Lazzaro BP

    Current biology : CB 2016;26;2;257-262

  • Genotype and diet shape resistance and tolerance across distinct phases of bacterial infection.

    Howick VM and Lazzaro BP

    BMC evolutionary biology 2014;14;1;56

  • The genetic architecture of defence as resistance to and tolerance of bacterial infection in Drosophila melanogaster.

    Howick VM and Lazzaro BP

    Molecular ecology 2017;26;6;1533-1546

  • Rapid seasonal evolution in innate immunity of wild Drosophila melanogaster.

    Behrman EL, Howick VM, Kapun M, Staubach F, Bergland AO et al.

    Proceedings. Biological sciences 2018;285;1870

Howick, Virginia Muriel
Virginia's Timeline

Started as a Postdoctoral Fellow at WTSI


Awarded PhD in Entomology from Cornell University


Started graduate school at Cornell University


Junior Scientist in Heimpel Lab at the University of Minnesota

B.S. in Genetics and Microbiology from the University of Minnesota


Research assistant in Heimpel Lab at the University of Minnesota