Fight the bite

Mosquitoes are responsible for the transmission of pathogens that cause important diseases and countless casualties every year. Currently, they thrive in tropical and sub-tropical urban centers around the globe, although their geographical range is expected to expand due to ongoing global phenomena, including climate change and urbanization. Thus, mosquitoes warrant significant attention from researchers and health authorities to develop efficient insect vector management methods. Repellency is the most frequent strategy to prevent mosquito bites and thus the spread of arboviruses, but despite the high availability of synthetic repellents, there is a growing concern about their toxicity and environmental sustainability. The quest for new repellent sources as well as the broad spectrum of action of known repellents unravel a need for understanding the underlying mechanisms that mediate the bioactive effects of such compounds on insect behavior. Further clarification on the matter is paramount to accelerate the discovery and development of novel repellent agents. In this context, compounds of plant origin have become a major focal point for repellency studies, but little is known about the molecular and cellular basis of their repellent action on insects. Thus, we aim to investigate molecular repellent targets in mosquitos to shed some light on their mode of action. The project will involve the use of genetically modified mosquitos, functional imaging, electrophysiological analyses, chemical analyses, and behavioral studies.

Postdoctoral Researcher: Dr. Merybeth Fernandez Triana (LU)

Supervision: Dr. Marcus Stensmyr (LU), Dr. Rickard Ignell (SLU) and Dr. Silke Sachse (MPI-CE)

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