The tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus is classified as one of the 100 most dangerous invasive species in the world. Its colonization of vast region of the Asia, Europe and the American continents has not been without consequence as this mosquito species is a vector of at least 22 human diseases including Dengue, Yellow fever, West Nile Fever and Chikungunya. This alarming situation contrasts with a substantial lack of scientific knowledge and cost effective control measures. Clearly this represents a serious obstacle to stop the spread of this mosquito species to new areas of the world but also for implementing surveillance and control measures in already infested regions. Here an international expert and a leading academic institution join cutting edge expertise in genetics, molecular biology and vector control in the effort to develop and validate wild type and genetically modified mosquito strains for Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) control measures targeting Ae. albopictus. Technical skills and scientific information will be translated into novel tools for optimizing mosquito mass rearing and assessing the performance of mosquito SIT in term of cost benefit and safety under strict confined conditions that closely mimic the natural environment. The underlying project structure in terms of research activities, tasks distribution and management has been planned with the priority of facilitating the interactions of human resources, between the incoming visiting scientist and the host institution and the network of collaborating EU laboratories. This exchange of staff and transfer of knowledge will bridge the scientific and cultural differences existing between US and European laboratory working in the field of genetic vector control. The project will unleash the full potential of the collective expertise towards the objectives of the proposal and will be instrumental in building collaborative links that will extend beyond the duration of the project.
Fields of science
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