PROJECT 4 | Multi-scale, modular models for Vector-Borne Disease

Background | Models of arbovirus transmission are useful in estimating the burden of Dengue, forecasting areas of risk for the emergence of Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika in non-endemic areas, and in assessing the potential of control interventions. The utility of these models relies on their grounding in empirical data at multiple scales describing the disease transmission process. The aims are to (i) model the dynamics of viruses in their invertebrate and vertebrate hosts as well as the movement of these hosts viz.

PROJECT 3 | Ecological and acaricide-resistance models of tick vectors in the Southeast US

Background | The geographic distribution and abundances of tick vectors, their acaricide resistance status and their associated pathogens are ever-changing. The overall aim of the project is two-fold: (i) Characterize the prevalence and distribution of selected tick-borne bacterial and viral pathogens via high-resolution spatial maps in Florida; and (ii) Understand the mechanisms and extent of acaricide resistance in two vectors of medical and veterinary importance: the brown dog tick and lone star tick.


PROJECT 2 | Breaking the transmission of zoonotic arboviruses by mosquitoes

Background | Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEEV) can over-winter in ectothermic hosts. The overall aim of this project is to predict at the focal level where over-wintering is occurring in Florida, and to leverage complementary mathematical models (Project 4) to develop early season intervention strategies to interrupt wintertime EEEV transmission.  We hypothesize that such early season interventions will lessen or prevent outbreaks of EEEV later in the year, when mosquito densities are greater and the costs for intervention correspondingly higher.  


Mutant Mosquitoes TEDx-FIU

Mutant mosquitoes

Towards a molecular understanding of mosquito host detection

"Mosquitoes obtain blood-meals from vertebrate hosts to enable egg production. Blood is not the only source of nourishment for mosquitoes. Both male and female mosquitoes seek nectar sources from plant hosts. Since males male do not bite, nectar is their principle energy source.  Mosquitoes gain access to these nutrients by sensing volatile chemicals in their environment. Olfactory cues such as body odor, carbon dioxide, and nectar volatiles are sufficient to enable mosquito attraction.

Four state universities collaborate on $10 million center to address Zika and other diseases

With a $10 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of Florida in collaboration with Florida International University, University of Miami and the University of South Florida  will lead a highly collaborative research program focused on stopping mosquito and tick-borne pathogens from spreading into the United States.

Read more about the CDC award here.

PROJECT 1 | Understanding vector ecology, arbovirus infectious rates & insecticide resistance to optimize mosquito control

The biocomplexity of Aedes vectors of Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya, and other arboviruses in the US remains understudied. We will investigate how fundamental, field-based information on the complexities of vector ecology and adaptation can be used to parameterize local and global models (Project 4) for predicting disease transmission and forecasting the longer-term potential of novel vector control tools in effecting optimized vector control in urban environments. ​