Lecture – The Tasmanian devil and Darwin: the role of cancer in evolution
This lecture, hosted by French biologist Frédéric Thomas, focuses on the study of transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devil populations and presents the research carried out on the ground as well as in the lab. Tailored to the general public, this lecture will give us further insights on a relatively new research topic, as well as on the evolutionary factors at play in the development of cancer and the methods of adaptation animals have developed to face it. The conference will include a presentation, followed by a Q&A session and a book signing opportunity of Frédéric Thomas’s L’abominable secret du cancer (Humensciences, 2019), which was awarded the “Goût des sciences” science book prize in 2020, and his new book Les paradoxes de la Nature (Humensciences, 2022.
Frédéric Thomas is a research director at the CNRS in the Mivegec laboratory in Montpellier, where he co-directs the Center for Ecological and Evolutionary Research on Cancer.
Link to book directly your seat: conferencediabletasmaniecancer.eventbrite.com
Frédéric Thomas – Researcher in evolutionary biology
This biologist’s research focuses on strategies for manipulating host behavior by parasites. After completing a thesis on the subject in 1996 at the University of Montpellier 2, Frédéric Thomas went on to do a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Otago (New Zealand), where his work on the tidal zone illustrates the role of an ecosystem engineer played by a parasitic worm. After a second postdoc in a pilot site in the Camargue, Tour du Valat, where he was interested in the ecology of colonial waterbirds, Frédéric Thomas was recruited in 1998 as a CNRS researcher in the Infectious Diseases and Vectors: Ecology, Genetics, Evolution and Control unit (Mivegec). He seeks to understand the recent evolution of our species by taking into account the parasites likely to invade it. This interest in human evolutionary biology in relation to parasitism led him to co-create, with François Renaud, an international database on humans, revealing, for example, a strong correlation between average fertility and parasite pressure. Since 2010, he has been developing an original theme at Mivegec on the relationship between evolution and cancer, because “cancer is also a particular form of parasitism. The objective: to understand and control tumor progression using applications of evolutionary biology. A pioneering course, at the crossroads of parasite ecology, evolutionary ecology and health ecology.