I am a Medical Entomologist specialized in mosquito ecology and behaviour. My Ph.D. project at University of Rome Sapienza (Public Health and Microbiology Department), focussed on the development and field-testing of a sticky trap for collecting Stegomyia adults, monitor their population dynamics, and study their biology.
I have a postdoctoral experience of nine years, eight of which spent in FNIH, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded projects at University of California, Davis, and at University of Perugia, Italy. In the frame of these projects I worked both in large cages and in the field to evaluate the performances of wild type and transgenic dengue and malaria vectors with the aim of moving to the field transgenic lines for controlling mosquito-borne diseases.
- Aedes aegypti is the most important vector of arboviruses worldwide and its populations are difficult to control. This species is strongly associated with human dwellings where females take the blood meal and rest mainly indoor to develop eggs. The goal of my research is to reveal the domestic behaviour of Ae. aegypti by using a video tracking system. Indoor mosquito movements and resting positions can be exploited to target control interventions based on insecticide use.
- Some species belonging to the Anopheles gambiae complex are the most important malaria vectors in Sub-Saharan Africa. Innovative control methods under testing include the use of radio-sterilized or transgenic males to reduce the field populations or render them refractory to parasite infection. I am interested in studying An. gambiae mating behaviour because of the importance it takes on the interactions between the lab produced males intended for field releases and the wild type individuals.
I have experience in mosquito surveillance, large cage studies, and in managing the transition of transgenic mosquitoes from the laboratory to the field.