Mosquito Control

Group Leader   

Associate Professor Gregor Devine

Summary

The Mosquito Control Laboratory (MCL) manages state-of-the art pathogen and insect containment facilities within an integrated building that includes animal houses and laboratories. This gives the MCL the capacity to undertake studies on all aspects of vector biology and disease transmission. Our facilities were equipped using a AU$20 million grant from the Queensland Tropical Health Alliance (funded by Queensland State Government) and it is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. It significantly enhances Australia’s ability to respond to emerging vector-borne disease threats in the region and to test novel ideas for mosquito surveillance, control and for interrupting parasite and pathogen transmission. A major remit of the refurbished MCL is to exploit this unique facility to its full potential through building strong collaborative links with parasitology, virology and vector biology laboratories throughout the world. The MCL has permission to hold a number of exotic mosquito strains (and is currently the only Australian facility licensed to rear Aedes albopictus). The laboratory routinely conducts vector competence experiments on local and exotic mosquito strains, including infections with human malaria and arboviruses. Associate Prof Gregor Devine is the current president of the Mosquito and Arbovirus Research Committee (MARC) which supports operational research on the mosquito and disease control issues that are prioritised by government, industry and research organisations in Queensland.

Locally, the MCL has access to real-world mosquito-virus transmission systems through a number of vectors and associated alphaviruses (including Ross River and Barmah Forest). Aedes aegypti and the annual dengue outbreaks that occur in the north of the state present further opportunities for internationally-relevant control and transmission studies. Historically, the MCL has had close ties to field sites in Thailand and Vietnam and is strengthening links to Europe, East Africa and Papua New Guinea

Current research

  • Novel insecticide application methods for dengue control in Bangkok and Madeira.
  • Associations between native mosquito disease vectors and Wolbachia in Queensland.
  • Ecology and dispersal of the endemic arbovirus vector, Aedes vigilax.
  • Mosquito age-grading techniques for the evaluation of field control programs.
  • Developing a vector-human malaria transmission model (with James McCarthy, QIMR Berghofer).
  • Factors influencing transmissibility of alphaviruses (with John Aaskov, QUT)

Staff

Group Leader: Associate Professor Gregor Devine

Postdoctoral staff: Dr Leon Hugo, Dr Jonathan Darbro, Dr Maggy Sikulu

Research Assistants: Elise Kho

Current Studentships (2014 – 2018)

  • Silvia Ciocchetta – biology of exotic mosquitoes (with Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie)
  • Brendan Trewin – invasion risks (with CSIRO and UQ)
  • Lisa Rigby – environment, adaptation and disease transmission (AAMI and UQ).
  • AID scholarship (TBC) – local Wolbachia (with UQ)


Collaborators

QHTA

ACITH 

UQ Biological Sciences (Dr Nigel Beebe, Professor Myron Zalucki)

Institut Pasteur (Dr Richard Paul, Dr Anavaj Sakuntabhai)

Mosquito and Arbovirus Research Committee

Queensland Health (Dr Andrew van den Hurk)

James Cook University (Professor Scott Ritchie)

Queensland University of Technology (Professor John Aaskov)

Australian Army Malaria Institute (Dr Chris Peatey)

Ifakara Health Institute, Tanzania (Dr Silas Majambere)

Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, Italy (Professor Gioia Capelli)


 

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