Dengue is an emerging viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes that has become a major threat for public health in the tropics in the last 20 years. The mechanisms regulating dengue morbidity and epidemics remain to be elucidated, and disregarding the population biology of dengue viruses may have been a limiting factor.
In particular, vector-driven selection is likely to play a key role on the evolution of viral populations, especially at a local geographical scale. A better understanding of dengue evolutionary and epidemiological dynamics thus requires a complete documentation on vector-virus interactions in natural populations.
This proposal merges medical entomology, epidemiology, evolutionary biology, population genetics and virology to address the role o f vector-virus interactions in dengue transmission at local and regional scales.
It aims at characterizing the interaction between dengue viruses and Aedesaegypti, the main dengue vector worldwide, by investigating
- the occurrence of local adaptation o f dengue viruses to their mosquito vectors;
- the association of mosquito polymorphism at potential vector competence genes with viral infection success, geography and viral genetic identity.
The amount of viral adaptation to local vectors will be measured using a reciprocal cross-infection experiment of several combinations of mosquito and virus samples collected at different localities in Thailand (in collaboration with the joint Thai-US Army Laboratory in Bangkok).
Sample collection and experimental infections will be conducted during a 20-month 'outgoing' phase at the University of California (USA), where the fellow will be trained in standard level-3 virological techniques.
Mosquitoes and viruses involved in these experimental infections will then be processed for the genetic characterization of the interaction during a 16-month 'return' phase in Montpellier (France), allowing the fellow to acquire additional competencies in population genetics.
Fields of science
- medical and health scienceshealth sciencesinfectious diseasesRNA viruses
- natural sciencesbiological sciencesmicrobiologyvirology
- medical and health scienceshealth sciencespublic healthepidemiology
- natural sciencesbiological sciencesgeneticsgenomesviral genomes
- natural sciencesbiological scienceszoologyentomology
Call for proposal
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