In the Short Lab, we study how insects interact with harmful and helpful microbes and the ecological and evolutionary forces shaping the insect immune system. As vector biologists, we are also interested in finding ways to use this information to improve our ability to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases. We primarily study Aedes aegypti, the mosquito vector of dengue and Zika virus.
What factors influence microbiota formation in arthropods and how does the microbial community impact pathogen transmission?
We use laboratory and field experiments to study what bacteria and fungi reside in mosquitoes and ticks and where they are found along the digestive tract. We use high throughput sequencing to profile the microbial communities of these arthropods and ecological analyses and functional experiments to investigate the structure of the microbiota and the potential function of its members.