United States

Sand Fly Genome Project

Phlebotomine sand flies are a diverse group of vectors that vary widely in geographic distribution, ecology, and the pathogens they transmit. Sand flies serve as vectors for several established, emerging, and re-emerging infectious diseases, transmitting protozoan, bacterial, and viral pathogens, the most devastating of which are the leishmaniases with 350 million people at risk and approximately two million new cases each year. In spite of the medical importance of leishmaniasis, it is classified as a neglected tropical disease and phlebotomine sand fly species remain understudied. Approximately 35 different sand fly species transmit at least 40 different Leishmania species to humans. Genome sequencing will contribute to understanding the mechanisms of vectorial capacity, adaptation to changing ecological environments, and insecticide resistance which has epidemiological consequences for the integrated management of sand fly populations, the cornerstone of leishmaniasis control.


While the research program is lab-based at the University of Notre Dame, the findings have implications for today's global health challenges.

Research Focus

  • Infectious Diseases

    At the EIGH, our researchers work to combat a number of various illnesses, including infectious diseases caused by organisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. These diseases can also be spread from one person to another and may be transmitted from animals to humans. 

  • Vector-borne Diseases

    Vector-borne disease research is a historic strength of the EIGH. Our researchers study multiple parts of the vector-borne disease lifecycle, such as how the parasites, viruses, and bacteria cause these kinds of diseases, how the vectors spread these diseases, and how to improve prevention methods in tropical and subtropical areas, which have the highest burden of vector-borne illnesses. 

Who’s Involved

EIGH Faculty

Global Partners

  • Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center
  • Genome Institute, Washington University School of Medicine
  • Sand Fly Genome Consortium

University of Notre Dame Partnerships

  • Center for Research Computing
  • Genomics and Bioinformatics Core Facility
  • VectorBase

Additional Information


Other Research in United States