Rising Star Faculty Award - Brian Lazzaro

Brian Lazzaro
Brian Lazzaro

Why do some individuals in a population succumb to bacterial infection while others resist it? Brian Lazzaro, a Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor appointed in the Departments of Entomology and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, was one of the first scientists to use insects to study immunity from the combined perspectives of evolutionary and functional genetics.

Lazzaro’s research team employs innovative, cutting-edge approaches to study how the immune system operates within the overall physiology of the host and how pathogens react to the host they live within. He considers host and pathogen as interacting components of a single system, shaped by the external environment, and queries how natural selection operates on host-pathogen interactions through time.

Lazzaro joined Cornell’s faculty in 2003 and has taught courses such as Ecological Genetics, Population Genetics, and Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease, as well as field courses in Kenya and the Galapagos Islands. He is director of the Cornell Institute of Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease (CIHMID) and he co-chairs the committee that develops the annual college-equivalency Advanced Placement Biology exam for high school students.