- 13 July 2018
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
FriDAY 13 July 2018, 1.00 pM
Auditorium, Level 6, Bancroft Building
Can malaria, dengue and Zika be controlled by CRISPR-based gene drive?
Assistant Professor John Marshall,
Divisions of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley
Malaria, dengue, Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases pose a major global health burden throughout much of the world. Wide-scale distribution of bed nets and antimalarial drugs has led to recent declines in malaria transmission; however over 600,000 people continue to die each year from the disease. For dengue, there is no effective cure or vaccine available, and cases continue to rise. The advent of CRISPR-Cas9-based gene editing and its demonstrated ability to streamline the development of gene drive systems has reignited the field along with interest in its ability to control mosquito-borne diseases; however, several pertinent questions remain to be addressed. For instance, will it ever be possible to conduct a meaningful field trial for a gene drive system that has the potential to spread into neighboring communities and across international borders? And are problems related to the rapid generation of drive-resistant alleles surmountable? In this talk, I will discuss the work of my research group in addressing these questions through the use of mathematical models in close collaboration with ecologists, epidemiologists and molecular biologists. A crucial missing detail in these models is the movement patterns of mosquitoes, and I will discuss our plans to infer these, in collaboration with researchers at QIMR, using geo-coded mosquito population genetic data.
John is an Assistant Professor in Residence in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. He received his PhD in biomathematics from UCLA in 2008 writing his dissertation on the use of GM mosquitoes to control malaria transmission. Prior to joining UC Berkeley, he worked on several aspects of this project as a PostDoc – social, cultural and regulatory issues at the UCLA Center for Society & Genetics, ecological field work at the Malaria Research and Training Center in Mali, molecular biology and population genetics at Caltech, and infectious disease modeling and epidemiological field work at Imperial College London. At UC Berkeley, he teaches two courses on mathematical modeling of infectious diseases and consults on this field generally. His own research focuses on the use of mathematical models to inform novel genetics-based strategies for mosquito control, and to support efforts to control and eliminate mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and Zika virus broadly.
Hosted by Associate Professor Greg Devine, Mosquito Control Laboratory, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute