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NMSU to host talk on mosquito and sand fly research

The New Mexico State University Department of Biology will host a talk titled ?Dipteran vector biology: mosquitoes and sand flies,? at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, in Foster Hall, Room 231.


Photo of Jiannong Xu next to microscope
Jiannong Xu, associate professor of biology at NMSU, will present a talk titled ?Dipteran vector biology: mosquitoes and sand flies,? at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, in Foster Hall, Room 231. (Photo by Tonya Suther)

This event, which is part of a weekly biology lecture series, will feature Jiannong (John) Xu, associate professor of biology at NMSU. For this seminar, Xu will discuss his recent survey of mosquito knockdown resistance (kdr) genotypes in a malaria-carrying mosquito species, as well as sand fly ecology and RNA sequencing.

?Insecticides have been used for mosquito control since the 1940s,? Xu said. ?However, mosquitoes have evolved resistance to insecticides. Knockdown resistance (kdr) gene mutation is a major mechanism responsible for the resistance to DDT and pyrethroids.?

During his sabbatical this past year, Xu worked with a long-term collaborator, Yajun Ma, at the Second Military Medical University in Shanghai, China. Xu and Ma examined the malaria-carrying mosquito, Anopheles sinensis, for kdr mutant genotypes.

The team mapped the temporal and spatial distribution of these mosquito populations to aid in the development of an intervention strategy to confront insecticide resistance. These findings were published in ?Malaria Journal,? and can be found at malariajournal.com/content/14/1/120.

The second part of the seminar will focus on sand fly ecology and genomic study. Sand flies, Xu explained, transmit Leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Leishmania.

In the summers of 2014 and 2015, Xu and Ma collected sand fly specimens for genomic research. They also investigated the ecological niches of the sand fly, and the animals that sand flies feed on to better understand the implementation of sand fly control measures.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information on Xu?s research, visit wordpress.nmsu.edu/jxu/.

The next talk in this series will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, in Foster Hall, Rom. 231, and will feature Jake Stout of the University of Manitoba.