Laura B. Duvall, Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
Biological Sciences
Institution
Columbia University
Address
Fairchild Center, mailcode 2408
1212 Amsterdam Ave.
City, State, ZIP
New York, NY 10027
Phone
212-853-2282
Email
[email protected]
Website
https://duvalllab.org
Research field
Neuroscience
Award year
2021

Research

The Duvall lab will characterize the neural and molecular pathways that regulate biting and mating in mosquitoes. In mosquitoes, feeding and reproduction are intimately linked: Females consume human blood to obtain the proteins they need to develop eggs. As a postdoctoral fellow, I identified molecules that mediate mosquitoes’ attraction to people and discovered a drug that suppresses the appetite of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that can spread dengue, Zika, and chikungunya. I also found that a similar signaling pathway controls female mating responses when, during mating, male mosquitoes transmit substances that cause females to reject other suitors. Now, using cutting-edge tools in pharmacology, neuroanatomy, genetics, and genome editing, my lab will map the pathways that control host attraction in mosquitoes that transmit malaria, yellow fever, and West Nile virus, and determine whether disrupting these pathways will similarly suppress biting in these species. We will also identify additional factors that allow male mosquitoes to manipulate females’ reproductive receptivity, findings that could lead to innovative strategies for controlling or eradicating mosquito-borne diseases.

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