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Projects

  • Plasmodium life cycle

    Malaria parasite killing in the mosquito host

    With more than 200 million cases and over 400,000 deaths, malaria is the deadliest of all mosquito-borne diseases. Transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles, much of our work has focused on understanding the mechanisms that influence parasite survival in the mosquito host. Blood meal-derived blood components and the mosquito microbiota have been shown to limit parasite viability in the midgut lumen, while the mosquito innate immune response has been shown to act as an integral factor in determining both ookinete and oocyst survival (Smith et al, 2014).

  • Mag beads

    Mosquito immune cells (hemocytes) are influenced by mosquito physiology

    At present, much of mosquito hemocyte biology has been unexplored, leaving many fundamental questions regarding hematopoiesis and immune cell function unknown. Our current knowledge of mosquito immune cells has been largely based on findings in other insect model systems, such as Drosophila, in which studies have primarily focused on immature larval stages. In addition, the hematophagous behavior of mosquitoes creates a unique biological system in an important disease vector to study immune cell dynamics and function.

  • WNV Transmission

    Long-term surveillance provides insights into WNV transmission dynamics in Iowa

    Since 2002, the Medical Entomology Lab at Iowa State has been monitoring mosquito populations and performing virus testing (in cooperation with the State Hygienic Lab) to better understand WNV transmission. Combining data from previous efforts under the stewardship of Wayne Rowley and Lyric Bartholomay, we have now assembled 15 years of mosquito abundance and virus infection data to being to tease apart the transmission dynamics of WNV for the state of Iowa. From these results, clear patterns of infection emerge in western Iowa that correspond with Culex tarsalis abundance.