Marcos Vieira

PhD Student

(773) 795-0960

205 Erman Hall
1103 E 57th St‎.
Chicago, IL 60637

Download Curriculum Vitae

I am a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Ecology & Evolution at the University of Chicago. Before that I was a Master's student in the Ecology & Evolution program at UFG, in Brazil, where I worked with Mário Almeida-Neto and did research on community ecology. As an undergraduate at UFC, I also did some research on behavioral ecology working with Paulo Enrique Peixoto.

The evolutionary dynamics of adaptive immunity

The vertebrate adaptive immune system imposes major selective pressures on antigenically variable pathogens such as influenza viruses and HIV. As a consequence, adaptive immunity shapes the ecology and evolution of viruses on multiple scales, from the rapid diversification of HIV within a single host to the global circulation patterns of influenza A.

Immunologists and evolutionary biologists have now begun to appreciate that adaptive immunity is not only a driver of evolutionary processes, but also an evolutionary and coevolutionary process in itself: high-affinity antibodies are the result of intra-host evolution within populations of B cells competing for antigen. Chronic or repeated infections by rapidly evolving viruses may sustain (and be sustained by) extensive coevolution between viral and B cell populations.

As an evolutionary biologist, I use mathematical, statistical and computational tools to study the evolution and coevolution of pathogens and the adaptive immune system. This involves formulating immunological questions in terms that are more familiar to ecologists and evolutionary biologists: How do patterns and biases in the immune response arise from the underlying dynamics of rapidly evolving populations of competing B cells? What are the consequences of those patterns for rapidly evolving populations of competing viral strains? Answers to those questions may help further our theoretical understanding of evolution, immunology and pathogen ecology, and may also have practical implications for public health strategies.


Vieira, M.C., Zinder, D., Cobey, S. 2018. Selection and neutral mutations drive pervasive mutability losses in long-lived anti-HIV B-cell lineages. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 35(5):1135-1146. doi:10.1093/molbev/msy024.

Scherrer, S., Lepesqueur, C., Vieira, M.C., Almeida-Neto, M., Dyer, L., Forister, M. Diniz, I.R. 2016. Seasonal variation in diet breadth of folivorous Lepidoptera in the Brazilian cerrado. Biotropica, 48:491-498.

de Araújo, W.S., Vieira, M.C., Lewinsohn, T.M. & Almeida-Neto, M. 2015. Contrasting effects of land use intensity and exotic host plants on the specialization of interactions in plant-herbivore networks. Plos One, 10(1): e0115606.

Vieira, M.C. & Almeida-Neto, M. 2015. A simple stochastic model for complex coextinctions in mutualistic networks: robustness decreases with connectance. Ecology Letters, 18: 144-152.

Gontijo, L.C., Vieira, M.C., De Araújo, W.S. & Almeida-Neto, M. 2014. Proportion of exotics and relatedness of host species mediate the positive effect of plant richness on the species richness of fruit flies. Ecological Entomology, 39: 716-722.

Vieira, M.C., Cianciaruso, M.V. & Almeida-Neto, M. 2013. Plant-pollinator coextinctions and the loss of plant functional and phylogenetic diversity. PLoS One, 8(11): e81242.

Vieira, M.C. & Peixoto, P.E.C. 2013. Winners and losers: a meta-analysis of functional determinants of fighting ability in arthropod contests. Functional Ecology, 27: 305-313.