Physiology and Biophysics

December 19, 2017

2019 Crill Lecture – Leslie B. Vosshall

June 6, 2019 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
HSB T-625

Neurobiology of the World’s Most Dangerous Animal

Leslie B. Vosshall, Ph.D.

Robin Chemers Neustein Professor Head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY

Seminar abstract:

My group is interested in the molecular neurobiology of mosquito host-seeking behavior. Female mosquitoes require a blood meal to complete egg development. In carrying out this innate behavior, mosquitoes spread dangerous infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever. Humans attract mosquitoes via multiple sensory cues including emitted body odor, heat, and carbon dioxide in the breath. The mosquito perceives differences in these cues, both between and within species, to determine which animal or human to target for blood-feeding. We have developed CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing in the Aedes aegypti mosquito with the goal of understand how sensory cues are integrated by the female mosquito to lead to host-seeking behavior. Some of the questions we are currently addressing are: Why are some people more attractive to mosquitoes than others? How do insect repellents work? How are multiple sensory cues integrated in the mosquito brain to elicit innate behaviors? How do female mosquitoes select a suitable body of water to lay their eggs? Recent advances from my group in analyzing the molecular biology of host-seeking behavior will be discussed. host: Stan Froehner