Deciphering the mosquito's visual capabilities
The research program characterizes the cellular mechanisms responsible for the specialized visual features and proficiencies of mosquitoes. Gene editing technologies are used to eliminate specific components of their visual system. The impact of these genetic alterations is monitored through the full spectrum of assays ranging from cellular neurodegeneration to behavioral deficits.
While the research program is lab-based at the University of Notre Dame, the findings have implications for today's global health challenges.
Genetics and Genomics
One way to study certain diseases is through genetics - the study of heredity and the variation of individual inherited genes in an organism. At the EIGH, this means studying how organisms can inherit and spread certain diseases. Additionally, by analyzing the entire structure, function, and evolution of an organism's genes, researchers may identify ways to prevent a disease from genetically passing disease traits.
Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Researchers at the EIGH use microbiology, which encompasses the study of an entire microorganism, and molecular biology, or the interactivity between molecules within a cell of an organism, to better understand disease and improve global health.
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.
Metoxen, A.J., Leming, M.T., Hu, X., Whaley, M.A., & O'Tousa, J.E. Light-driven processes control both rhodopsin maturation and recycling in mosquito photoreceptors.
Rocha, M., Kimler, K.J., Leming, M.T., Hu, X., Whaley, M.A., and O’Tousa, J.E. Expression and light-triggered movement of rhodopsins in the larval visual system of mosquitoes.