Shelley Adamo

Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator

Shelley Adamo

Related Information

Research Website

Phone: (902) 494-8853
Fax: (902) 494-6585
Mailing Address: 
Dalhousie University, Life Sciences Centre, Rm 3324, 6287 Alumni Crescent, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Parasitic manipulation of behaviour
  • Comparative psychoneuroimmunology
  • Ecoimmunology

Cross Appointments

Department of Biology


BSc (Toronto)
PhD (McGill)

Research Interests

I explore the interactions between behaviour and physiology, using invertebrate model systems.  For example, I study how and why animals change their behaviour due to infection.  In some cases the change in behaviour is produced by the host to help it overcome its infection, in some cases the pathogen manipulates the host’s behaviour for its own ends.  I also study how and why immune function is influenced by factors such as stress and reproduction.  The ability to resist disease is partly determined by behaviour.  We use a range of techniques including behavioural studies, physiological methods, biochemical assays (e.g. HPLC) and molecular techniques.

Selected Publications

  • Adamo SA. (2022) The integrated defense system:  optimizing defense against predators, pathogens and poisons.  Integrative and Comparative Biology.
  • Adamo SA. (2021) How insects protect themselves against combined starvation and pathogen challenges, and the implications for reductionism.  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology B.
  • McMillan LE and Adamo SA. (2020)  Friend or foe?  Effects of host immune activation on the gut microbiome in the caterpillar Manduca sexta.  Journal of Experimental Biology. 223 (19): jeb226662.
  • Miyashita A, Lee TYM, and Adamo SA. (2020) High stakes decision-making by female crickets (Gryllus texensis): When to trade-in wing muscles for eggs. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 93 (6): 450-465.
  • Adamo SA (2020).  Animals have a Plan B:  How insects deal with the dual challenge of predators and pathogens.  Journal of Comparative Physiology B. 190: 381-390.
  • Adamo SA and McMillan LE (2019) Listening to your gut: Immune challenge to the gut sensitizes body wall nociception in the caterpillar Manduca sextaPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 374: 20190278.
  • Adamo SA (2019) Turning your victim into a collaborator:  Exploitation of insect behavioural control systems by parasitic manipulators.  Current Opinion in Insect Science. 33: 25-29
  • McMillan L. E., Miller, D and Adamo SA (2018) Eating when ill is risky: Immune defense impairs food detoxification in the caterpillar Manduca sextaJournal of Experimental Biology. 221: jeb173336.
  • Adamo SA, Easy R, Kovalko I, MacDonald J, McKeen A, Swanburg T, Turnbull KF, and Reeve C. (2017) Predator stress-induced immunosuppression: trade-off, immune redistribution or immune reconfiguration? Journal of Experimental Biology. 220: 868-875. doi: 10.1242/jeb.153320


NESC/PSYO 3165--Neurothology
NESC/PSYO 2570--Introduction to Neuroscience II. Cellular Neurobiology
NESC/PSYO 3180--Psychoneuroimmunology/Ecological Immunology