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Vol. LXIV, No. 21
October 12, 2012
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Vector Biology Symposium Highlights Brazil, U.S. Collaboration

Mosquitoes, sand flies, fleas and ticks—and the infectious diseases they spread—took the spotlight recently at the inaugural U.S.-Brazil Vector Biology Symposium held at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Mont.

More than 70 scientists, including 14 from Brazil and 21 from college campuses across the United States, spent the 2 days sharing and brainstorming about new research findings, trends and plans related to preventing diseases such as dengue fever, malaria, leishmaniasis and plague.

“This group of scientists has similar research interests, but they really only knew each other from published studies,” said Dr. Joseph Hinnebusch, a section chief in NIAID’s Laboratory of Zoonotic Pathogens and one of the symposium organizers. “This event allowed them to meet and discuss how they might apply new research methods and findings to their own projects.”

For example, attendees heard how a group of Brazilian scientists are using genetically modified male mosquitoes to potentially reduce the number of biting female mosquitoes that can spread dengue virus. NIAID scientist Dr. Carolina Barillas-Mury also discussed how the mosquito immune system could be manipulated to destroy malaria-causing parasites before they are transmitted to people.

“South American countries, particularly Brazil, have made concerted efforts toward research and training in the field of vector biology,” said Dr. David Sacks, a section chief in NIAID’s Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases. “In the spirit of global public health, they shared some of their rising stars with us, which led to some productive conversations and possible research collaborations.”

A follow-up symposium, possibly in 2014 in Brazil, is being discussed.

Attendees of the inaugural U.S.-Brazil Vector Biology Symposium held at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Mont.

Attendees of the inaugural U.S.-Brazil Vector Biology Symposium held at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Mont.

 


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