Mosquito transmitted pathogens have an enormous impact of human health. A substantial amount of funding and resources are being spent to control the transmission of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. In many ways this investment is paying off. Innovative and exciting new strategies and technologies have been developed to help combat these plagues.
The next challenge we face is implementing these new tools effectively and sustainably to start to make a real impact on disease transmission. One of the key challenges to implementation of many of these new strategies is that we don't actually know very much about what mosquitoes actually do in the real world.
My research aims to improve understanding of mosquito behavior and how behavior mediates interactions with other organisms, the parasites that they transmit, and the dynamic world that they live in. Current areas of research fall under two broad categories: the feeding behaviors of infected mosquitoes and mosquito mating behavior in aerial swarms.
Cator LJ, Spotlight: Malaria altering host attractiveness and mosquito feeding, Trends in Parasitology, ISSN:1471-5007
Cator LJ, Zacharo Z, Size, sounds, and sex: interactions between body size and harmonic convergence signals determine mating success in Aedes aegypti, Parasites & Vectors, ISSN:1756-3305
Murdock CC, Luckhart S, Cator LJ, Immunity, Host Physiology, and Behaviour in Infected Vectors, Current Opinion in Insect Science, ISSN:2214-5753
et al., 2014, Alterations in mosquito behaviour by malaria parasites: potential impact on force of infection, Malaria Journal, Vol:13, ISSN:1475-2875, Pages:164-164
et al., 2013, 'Manipulation' without the parasite: altered feeding behaviour of mosquitoes is not dependent on infection with malaria parasites, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:280, ISSN:0962-8452, Pages:20130711-20130711