Buckle Up for Gene Drives of the Future!

by Jessalyn Ubellacker figure by Jovana Andrejevic Between September 1999 and June 2000, the first human genome was sequenced. Since then, scientists have learned not only to read the human genome, but also to manipulate it, offering unprecedented opportunities to improve human health through genetic alterations. One example of this is gene drive technology, which circumvents classical inheritance patterns to ‘drive’ the presence of particular … Continue reading Buckle Up for Gene Drives of the Future!

The war on malaria gets a new weapon: a toxic fungus

As mosquitoes develop resistance to insecticides used to control their populations, scientists have been developing new tools. The latest idea: infecting mosquitoes with a fungus genetically engineered to produce arachnid toxins. After infecting the mosquitoes with fungal spores, the bugs showed increase mortality within 2.5 days after exposure and fed less in the days before their death, compared to their healthy counterparts. Continue reading The war on malaria gets a new weapon: a toxic fungus

Mosquitos: Friend or Foe? Possible use of mosquitos in modern epidemiology

With the warm weather of summer quickly approaching, a common enemy known as the mosquito will soon make a reappearance. Mosquitoes are more than just an irritation. In many areas of the world, mosquitoes are also carriers of infectious diseases such as malaria and the Zika virus. While the mosquito is a  major problem to many, scientists at Microsoft Research are attempting to exploit some … Continue reading Mosquitos: Friend or Foe? Possible use of mosquitos in modern epidemiology

Malaria in a warming world: How high will it go?

While there’s been much debate in the media about the causes and effects of climate change, many scientists agree that changes in climate will impact our lives. However, demonstrating such impact is scientifically challenging because of the many different factors that are involved and the difficulty of making predictions about the future, as well as politically charged because of the implications any findings will have … Continue reading Malaria in a warming world: How high will it go?

1001 Bites: The road to a successful malaria vaccine

The public health world has been abuzz recently with the results of the Phase I clinical trial of a malaria vaccine that proved 100% effective in protecting vaccinated people against Plasmodium falciparum infection when they were bitten by infected mosquitoes [1, 2]. P. falciparum is the species of malaria parasite that causes the most severe cases of disease – multiplying quickly in the blood and … Continue reading 1001 Bites: The road to a successful malaria vaccine