Dr Adriana Adolfi will be exploring the molecular basis of behavioural responses in insecticide resistant malaria-transmitting mosquitoes.
Bed nets treated with insecticides are currently the most effective malaria control tools in Africa, but insecticide resistance in mosquitoes is threatening their effectiveness. Resistant African mosquitoes, Anopheles gambiae, display behavioural changes in the presence of insecticide-impregnated bed nets that may have important consequences for disease transmission. Dr Adolfi, under the supervision of Vector Biology’s Professor Hilary Ranson, will use cutting-edge genomic technologies and behavioural assays to investigate how the presence of specific insecticide resistance mechanisms affects behaviour. The research will specifically focus on the major sensory organs in mosquitoes, the antennae, whose role has not yet been investigated in the context of resistance.
Understanding the underlying causes of mosquito behavioural responses to insecticide-treated bed nets is crucial to preserve the effectiveness of these vital malaria control tools, and to inform the development of improved vector control means that are urgently needed to combat the growing problem of insecticide resistance in African malaria mosquitoes.