Dr Beata Ujvari
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Sydney
Our long-term study of water pythons (Liasis fuscus) has revealed a dramatic variation in individual adult longevity (ranging from <5 to >20 years), and that mortality in the wild is rarely a result of ecological/environmental factors such as predation, but rather of age-dependent variation in ability to combat infections. Immune challenges of different aged pythons revealed that age-related changes in python immune function may follow different and opposing pathways.
I will discuss our findings in context of the general principles of immunosenescence, with special emphasis on the role of less known antigens in maintaining immunocompetence during the ageing process.