Speaker — Ryan Smith, Assistant Professor in the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University
Topic — Using phagocytosis to shine light into the black box of mosquito immune cells
Abstract — Mosquitoes are arguably the deadliest animal on the planet, threatening half of the world's population with the risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue. The mosquito immune system is an important determinant in the ability of the mosquito host to acquire and transmit these deadly pathogens, of which mosquito immune cells have been implicated as critical mediators of pathogen survival. Despite this importance, the biology of mosquito immune cells has been severely limited by the lack of genetic tools and cellular markers that would enable their study. Our recent work has taken advantage of the phagocytic properties of a subset of these cells to examine their contributions to mosquito immunity through interdisciplinary approaches using proteomics and chemical genetics to better understand the physiological signals that regulate these cell populations and their functional contributions to malaria parasite killing in the mosquito host. From these studies, we demonstrate how this knowledge can be translated for real-world approaches to control malaria.
Host — Dior Kelley