Theme: Vector-pathogen interactions

We are exploring how pathogens interact with their vector hosts to gain insight into bottlenecks in the transmission cycle, and opportunities for control.

Examples include investigations of the interaction between arboviruses and proteins in their mosquito vectors, using RNA interference and mutant lines to identify how transmission can be blocked. We are also studying the genetic basis of susceptibility to trypanosome infection in both insect vectors and human hosts, and the ecological factors that determine the distribution of infection in vector populations.

In additional studies we are focusing on interactions between tick-borne parasites, their vectors and mammalian cells. For example, in the parasite Theileria annulata we are characterizing antigens that may promote immune responses that block transmission. We also use experimental infections of African Anopheles mosquitoes by the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum to identify the environmental and host factors that promote transmission to mosquitoes.

Study organisms:

Plasmodium-mosquito, dengue-mosquito, chikungunya-mosquito, Lyme disease and theileriosis ticks, trypanosome-flies, filaria-flies, in vivo mouse models of mosquito-borne virus infection