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Department of Genetics



2017-present PhD candidate, Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge, UK

M.Sc. in Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

B.Sc. in Biology (minor: Microbiology and Parasitology), University of Panama, Panama



I am broadly interested in symbiotic interactions, particularly in insects. My main interest is to understand how beneficial or parasitic partners affect the behavior, ecology and evolution of their hosts. Currently, I am interested in understanding the mechanisms of resistance against parasites. Almost all organisms are exposed by multiple and rapidly evolving parasites. Because parasites impose a high selection pressure on host fitness, parasites are thought to be a major selective factor that promotes the evolution of resistance in host populations. Much of this resistance is determined by genetic factors within host population, however, it is not clear what genetic factors promote more resistance to parasites than others? For my dissertation project, I will work on how polymorphic variants affect the interaction between different fruit flies and their specialized viral enemies.


Key publications: 

Martinez J, Bruner-Montero G, Arunkumar R, Smith SCL, Day JP, Longdon B, Jiggins FM: Virus evolution in Wolbachia-infected Drosophila. Proc Biol Sci 2019, 286(1914):20192117.

Bruner G, Wcislo WT, Fernández- Marín H: Prudent inquilines and proactive hosts: behavioral dynamics between an ant social parasite, Megalomyrmex symmetochus and its fungus-growing ant host, Sericomyrmex amabilis. Insectes sociaux 2014, 61:83-88.

Bruner G, Jimenez L, Mendoza Y, Chial B, De Chial M: Bacterial Diversity and Physicochemical Stratification of the Water Column during the Rainy Season in Las Cumbres Lake, Panama. The Internet Journal of Microbiology 2013, 12(1):1.

Fernandez- Marín H, Bruner G, Gomez EB, Nash DR, Boomsma JJ, Wcislo WT: Dynamic disease management in Trachymyrmex fungus-growing ants (Attini: Formicidae). Am Nat 2013, 181(4):571-582.

Farji-Brener AG, Morueta-Holme N, Chinchilla F, Willink B, Ocampo N, Bruner G: Leaf-cutting ants as road engineers: the width of trails at branching points in Atta cephalotes. Insectes Sociaux 2012, 59(3):389-394.

Bruner G, Fernández-Marín H, Touchon JC, Wcislo WT: Eggs of the Blind Snake,Liotyphlops albirostris, Are Incubated in a Nest of the Lower Fungus-Growing Ant,  Apterostigmacf.goniodes. Psyche: A Journal of Entomology 2012, 2012:1-5.


Graduate student : Jiggins Group
 Gaspar  Bruner-Montero
Areas of Interest: 
Host-pathogen interaction
Host-symbiont interaction
Evolutionary genetics
Email address: 
20 Downing Pl, Cambridge CB2 3DY
Office phone: