Jan. 7, 2011
DAVIS--A malaria-proof mosquito, the work of scientists at the University of California, Davis and the University of Arizona, has made Time Magazine’s “50 Best Inventions of 2010.”
It's listed as No. 1 in Time Magazine’s Health and Medicine Category.
The genetically engineered mosquito drew international attention July 15, 2010 when an 11-member team from the University of Arizona Department of Entomology and the UC Davis Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology and the Department of Entomology published its research in the journal Public Library of Science Pathogens (PLOS).
“The transgenic mosquitoes were developed at the University of Arizona and we performed the malaria parasite infection studies here at UC Davis,” said malaria researcher and professor Shirley Luckhart of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology and an advisor in the Entomology Graduate Program.
Among the 11 scientists co-authoring the paper were four UC Davis researchers: Luckhart; professor Edwin Lewis, who has a joint appointment in the Entomology and Nematology departments; Entomology doctoral student Anna Drexler who studies with major professor Luckhart; and postdoctoral scholar Nazzy Pakpour of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. Pakpour did her undergraduate work in entomology at UC Davis.
“This is the first time anyone has created a transgenic mosquito line that has two important features for malaria transmission control: (1) reduced lifespan, and (2) complete resistance to infection with the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum,” Luckhart said. Globally, malaria infects some 250 million people annually and kills more than a million a year, primarily in Africa.
“We know that one mosquito phenotype,” Luckhart said, “might not be enough to block transmission – that is, selection could result in parasites that develop more quickly or are more virulent to overcome one or the other phenotype, but the chance that parasites could evolve to evade both would be very small. We’re working on the mechanism of anti-parasite resistance right now and we have some tantalizing results that suggest that the effect on lifespan and immunity are linked through some major metabolic changes in the transgenic mosquitoes.”
Scientists from UC Davis and University of Arizona began collaborating on the malaria-proof mosquito research in 2008. Their grant, from the National Institutes of Health, is funded through 2013.
As of Jan. 7, their scientific paper, “Activation of Akt Signaling Reduces the Prevalence and Intensity of Malaria Parasite Infection and Lifespan in Anopheles stephensi Mosquitoes, has generated nearly 7000 article views and has drawn extensive news coverage. ABC and BBC spotlighted the work. In a July 17 news article headlined “Malaria-Proof Mosquito Created,” science writer Eric Bland of ABC News wrote that scientists created “a malaria-proof" mosquito, that scientists “engineered a genetic ‘on switch' that permanently activates a malaria-destroying response.”
“If these mosquitoes,” Bland wrote, “are successfully introduced into the wild, they could prevent millions of people from becoming infected with life-threatening Plasmodium -- the parasite that causes malaria.”
BBC science reporter Victoria Gill, in a July 16th article headlined “Malaria-Proof Mosquito Engineered,” wrote that scientists in the United States “have succeeded in genetically engineering a malaria-resistant mosquito.”
Of the mosquito, Time Magazine reporter Jeffrey Kluger wrote: “It's been a bad year to be a mosquito. The world's most annoying insect is responsible for 250 million cases of malaria per year — and 1 million deaths. But scientists...have genetically engineered a mosquito that's immune to the Plasmodium parasite, the malaria-causing agent it transmits with its bite. The next step is to make the new mosquito hardier than the ordinary kind, then release it into the wild (perhaps within 10 years), where it will displace the deadly variety. Meanwhile, former Microsoft exec Nathan Myhrvold, working with the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory, is developing a laser that can zap mosquitoes without harming other insects or humans. The laser targets the mosquitoes' size and signature wing beat and sends the bugs down in a burst of flame, making their deaths good for public health and, well, kind of cool.”
The scientific paper abstract:
“Malaria (Plasmodium spp.) kills nearly one million people annually and this number will likely increase as drug and insecticide resistance reduces the effectiveness of current control strategies. The most important human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, undergoes a complex developmental cycle in the mosquito that takes approximately two weeks and begins with the invasion of the mosquito midgut. Here, we demonstrate that increased Akt signaling in the mosquito midgut disrupts parasite development and concurrently reduces the duration that mosquitoes are infective to humans. Specifically, we found that increased Akt signaling in the midgut of heterozygous Anopheles stephensi reduced the number of infected mosquitoes by 60–99%. Of those mosquitoes that were infected, we observed a 75–99% reduction in parasite load. In homozygous mosquitoes with increased Akt signaling parasite infection was completely blocked. The increase in midgut-specific Akt signaling also led to an 18–20% reduction in the average mosquito lifespan. Thus, activation of Akt signaling reduced the number of infected mosquitoes, the number of malaria parasites per infected mosquito, and the duration of mosquito infectivity.”
Download PLOs Paper on Malaria-Proof Mosquito (Open Access)
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
DAVIS—Garden tours, hands-on demonstrations, educational speakers and children's activities will mark the grand opening celebration of the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, set from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010 at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis.
The haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden planted last fall next to the research facility, is marking its first year of growth, said bee biology program coordinator Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
The key goals of the garden are to provide bees with a year-around food source for the Laidlaw Facility bees, to raise public awareness about the plight of honey bees, and to encourage visitors to plant bee-friendly gardens of their own.
“We expect the honey bee haven to become a campus destination,” Kimsey said. “This is a year-around food source for bees and other pollinators and an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the plight of bees and what to plant in their own gardens to help them survive.”
“This garden is a living laboratory to educate, inspire and engage people of all ages in the serious work of helping to save honey bees,” said Dori Bailey, director of Haagen-Dazs Consumer Communications. “We hope the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven not only offers bees and other pollinators a place to thrive, but that it contributes to finding answers that enable us to be better stewards of these tiny pollinators.”
True to its mission, the half-acre bee garden has drawn pollinators from the Laidlaw facility's 60 hives, each populated with some 60,000 honey bees. Other pollinators include bumble bees, butterflies, dragonflies, sweat bees and carpenter bees. Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, has identified more than 50 species of bees alone in two years of monitoring the grounds, as they changed from an open field to a planted garden.
Art created by students and the community in the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, founded and directed by UC Davis entomologist-artist Diane Ullman and artist Donna Billick, will be permanently displayed at the garden.
Speakers will address the crowd beginning at 10:30 a.m. Neal Van Alfen, dean of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and entomology professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, will welcome the crowd.
11:15 a.m.: Cooperative Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of UC Davis, “Honey Bee Decline”
11:45 a.m.: Garden co-designer Ann Baker of Sausalito, “Designing the Garden”
12:15 p.m.: Melissa “Missy” Borel, program manager of the California Center for Urban Horticulture, UC Davis, “Bee Friendly Plants”
12:45 p.m.: Scientists-artists Diane Ullman and Donna Billick of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, which created permanent art work in the garden. Billick created the 6-foot-long “Miss Bee Haven” bee sculpture, funded by Wells Fargo
1:15 p.m.: Native pollinator specialist Neal Williams of UC Davis, “Pollinator Eco-Services and the Role of Bees in Sustainable Food Production”
A children's activity center, coordinated by Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, will include arts and crafts, including button-making, face-painting and flower crafting. A “buzz kazoo” is also in the works.
Among others scheduled to participate at the various stations throughout the garden to converse with visitors: native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp; bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey; beekeeper and staff research associate Elizabeth Frost; Ellen Zagory, director of horticulture for the UC Davis Arboretum; members of the winning design team (landscape architects Donald Sibbett and Ann F. Baker, interpretative planner Jessica Brainard and exhibit designer Chika Kurotaki); graduate student Emily Bzdyk; and members of the Neal Williams' lab.
Complimentary Häagen-Dazs ice cream will be offered at the opening, as will samples of Gimbal's Fine Candies from its honey lovers' line. Gimbal's, of San Francisco, is donating 5 percent from the sale of its candy to UC Davis honey bee research.
Also at the grand opening, food will be available for purchase, as will “bee” t-shirts from graduate and undergraduate students at UC Davis. Visitors will be invited to participate in drawings for posters, honey and other items.
Honey bees pollinate more than 100 different U.S. agricultural crops, valued at $15 billion. However, the nation's beekeepers have reported losing from one-third to all of their bees due to a mysterious phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder (CCD) that surfaced in 2006. CCD is worsening, according to Mussen.
In response to the declining bee population, the Häagen-Dazs brand launched the "Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees" campaign in February 2008, committing a total $250,000 donation for bee research to UC Davis and Pennsylvania State University, and redoubled its efforts in 2009 with a second $250,000 donation, bringing the brand's total donation for honey bee research to a half million dollars. It also formed a scientific advisory Bee Board, created an educational Web site and introduced the new Vanilla Honey Bee ice cream flavor. Bees are crucial to nearly 50 percent of their all-natural flavors.
The garden design competition, funded by Häagen-Dazs and coordinated by the Department of Entomology and California Center for Urban Horticulture at UC Davis, drew submissions from throughout the world. A Sausalito-based team won the competition with a series of interconnected gardens with such names as “Honeycomb Hideout,” “Nectar Nook” and “Pollinator Patch.”
The design team zeroed in on sustainability and visitor experience. The four interconnected gardens, “Honeycomb Hideout,” “Nectar Nook,” “Pollinator Patch” and “My Backyard” form the “physical and interpretive framework” for the honey bee haven design. A series of trails connect the gardens.
“Incorporated into each of the four sections are gathering spaces that serve as orientation points for guided tours, facilitated programs and ‘chat time' with beekeepers and entomologists,” the team explained. Identification labels will help visitors identify select what they can plant in their own yards.
Judges scored the designs on diversity (the winning design has 40 different plants), bloom balance, vision, generational learning, cost feasibility and attention to detail. “Judges also declared the team's design as the best at adhering to the River Friendly Landscaping guideline for our area,” said Borel, who coordinated the design competition.
Cagwin and Dorward Landscape Contractors, a Northern California company, installed the garden. Joining Wells Fargo as a sponsor is Annie's Homegrown, maker of Honey Bunny Grahams.
More information on the grand opening is available from event coordinator Chris Akins at (530) 752-2120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
10:30 a.m. Neal Van Alfen, dean of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and entomology professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, will welcome the crowd.
Speakers at the podium will include:
More than 50 Bee Species Found in Haven: Robbin Thorp
Sausalito team plan (PDF, 21 pages)
Sponsors of grand opening celebration
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The ceramic art work being installed at the half-acre bee friendly garden on Bee Biology Road is the work of not only undergraduates in the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program but community residents.
A grand opening celebration of the haven is planned for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11.
“We are so inspired by the learning that happens as students from majors across the campus and community members collaborate to create beautiful and educational artwork,” said Art/Science Fusion Program co-director and co-founder Diane Ullman, an entomologist and an artist. “It is exciting to see the learning we can share extended to so many people as a result of connecting art and science in this way.”
Diane Ullman, an entomology professor-artist and associate dean for undergraduate academic programs at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, founded the Art/Science Fusion Program in 2006 with Davis-based artist Donna Billick. However, they trace the beginnings of the program back to 1997 when they began teaching art-science fusion classes on campus.
At the invitation of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, sixth graders at Korematsu Elementary School, Davis, and community members crafted flowers, pollen grains and bees for the haven.
At one recent community workshop, third-grader Aleta Ballinger, 8, of Davis, finished a handful of ceramic bees and also completed a larger ceramic of a worker bee on hexagonal cells.
Artists Carol Rogala of Folsom, wearing a “Save the Bees” t-shirt, and her friend, T. J. Lev of Sacramento, crafted flowers from clay. They recently participated in the “Bees at The Bee” art show in Sacramento.
Members of two Davis families clustered around a table to work the clay into flowers and bees and paint them. Enthusiastically participating were children Jason Henkel, Sophia Leamy, Nicolas Leamy, and Matthew Henkel and adults Merissa Leamy, Nicolas Leamy and Barbara Friedman.
A special seminar offered by the Art/Science Fusion Program also allowed undergraduates in the Davis Honors Challenge to explore the life and importance of honey bees. Christine Santa Maria, a UC Davis honors student majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, finished a piece on the life cycle of bees. She included larvae, nurse bees feeding the brood, and worker bees nectaring flowers. She formed a retinue of worker bees around the queen bee.
Billick created a gigantic bee sculpture for the garden. Donors making gifts or pledges of $1000 or more by July 20 will have their nams placed on ceramic art tiles in time for the Sept. 11 opening. Their names also will be placed on the website of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. Pledges can be paid over five years, according to Jan Kingsbury, director of major gifts, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
The deadline to contact her in order to have these tiles in place before the Sept. 11 opening is July 20. "We are just about to finish the art work for this set of tiles," Kingsbury said. More sets will follow. Kingsbury can be reached at (530) 304-4327 or email@example.com.
The grand opening celebration of the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven will include speakers, educational information about bees and how to help them survive, children's activities and tours.
(Editor's Note: Initially, plans called for RSVPing to the opening celebration. This is no longer necessary.)
DAVIS--Communications specialist Kathy Keatley Garvey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology received the top award in the category, “Writing for Newspapers,” at the 2010 conference of the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE), an international association of communicators, educators and information technologists.
Garvey's gold-winning entry, “The Young Bee Crusaders,” showcased what youth are doing to help save the bees in the face of colony collapse disorder.
Garvey, a former newspaper editor, writes the UC ANR blog, “Bug Squad,” which, as of July 25, 2010 showed one million hits from a total of 106 countries. She initiated the blog in August 2008.
Born Feb. 15, 1933 in San Jose, Dr. Maggenti attended St. Mary's College High School and, during those years, he achieved the Eagle Scout rank, Boy Scouts of America. He obtained a bachelor of science degree in entomology and parasitology at the University of California, Berkeley in 1954 and then completed his PhD in entomology there in 1958. His Ph.D. studies, conducted under the guidance of Dr. Merlin Allen, focused on the biology, morphology and taxonomy of the genus Plectus.
Immediately after his Ph.D. dissertation was submitted and accepted, Dr. Maggenti was appointed by Dr. Dewey Raski to the position of lecturer and assistant nematologist in the newly formed Department of Nematology at the UC Davis, where he served the remainder of his professional career. He chaired the department from 1973 to 1978 and served as associate dean of Student Affairs between 1982 and 1987. He retired in 1993 and was appointed emeritus professor of dematology.
Dr. Maggenti was known as an outstanding and popular teacher who effortlessly drew on his breadth of knowledge of the organisms of the phylum to illustrate principles of biology, ecology and parasitology. He enriched his lectures with anecdotes of the activities of his mentors and colleagues and of his personal research experiences. His Nematology 110 class, Introduction to Nematology, was especially popular with undergraduate students, despite the fact that it was an elective and met at 8 a.m. Dr. Maggenti's reputation as a teacher was such that enrollment in the class regularly approached 100 students. Twenty years after he last taught the class, former students regularly visit the Department of Nematology exhibits at the annual UC Davis Picnic Day open house to inquire about Dr. Maggenti and to introduce spouses and children to the world of nematodes.
Dr. Maggenti was a respected and valued mentor of graduate students; former students and visiting scientists frequently recall protracted discussions around the mid-morning coffee pot. For varying periods throughout his career, Dr. Maggenti taught Nematode Taxonomy and Comparative Morphology and a separate class on Principles and Techniques of Taxonomy and Morphology, as well as a significant portion of a class on the Biology of Parasitism. During his career he received several awards for teaching excellence, including the James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award and the Magnar Ronning Award. He was elected Fellow of the Society of Nematologists in 1990.
Significant throughout his career: the impact of the many nematological luminaries with whom he had the opportunity to collaborate and interact. Those interactions were reflected in his teaching and his writing. Besides Drs. Allen and Raski, both honorary members and founder members of the Society of Nematologists, his early career development was strongly influenced during his graduate studies by Dr. Benjamin Chitwood who was working with E.C. Dougherty at the nearby Kaiser Institute in Richmond. His interactions with Chitwood included many late night discussions on all aspects of the evolution, systematics and biology of nematodes. In addition to the mentored projects of his several graduate students, Armand Maggenti published with Drs. Dougherty, Chitwood, Timm, and Croll. He collaborated with Drs. Fortuner, Geraert, Luc and Raski in the important 1987 and 1988 revisions of the suborder Tylenchina.
Besides his contributions to our theories and understanding of nematode phylogeny and the evolution of parasitism in the phylum, Dr. Maggenti worked on the control of plant-parasitic nematodes in strawberry and ornamental plant production. His book entitled “General Nematology,” published in 1981, has been particularly useful for reference and teaching purposes; it is an excellent resource on the anatomy, morphology, life cycles and classification of the phylum. With his first wife MaryAnn Basinger Maggenti, who died in 2001, Dr. Maggenti co-authored the extensive "Dictionary of Invertebrate Zoology,” now published online.
Dr. Maggenti was an avid outdoorsman: a hunter and an accomplished fly fisherman. He is survived by his wife Joan; his sister; and sons Timothy and Peter and their respective families.