ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grant (2010-2015, PI), European Research Council

SocialVaccines: Social vaccination in ant colonies: from individual mechanisms to society effects

In this project we studied the social immunisation in ants. We found that social contact to pathogen-exposed individuals can induce an immune protection in their colony members. This occurs by an active immune stimulation after a transfer of low amounts of pathogen through the colony. This protective effect of low level infections has also been used in early human medicine to protect against diseases like smallpox.


Main publications arising from this work were:

Research papers:
Konrad et al 2012 PLoS Biol
Konrad et al 2018 PNAS


Conceptual work:
Masri & Cremer 2014 Trends Immunol
Cremer et al 2018 Annual Reviews Entomol


This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7; grant agreement No: 243071).