- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The seminar, set for 4:10 p.m., Pacific Time, will be virtual only, announced seminar series coordinator Emily Meineke, an urban landscape entomologist and assistant professor.
The Zoom link: https://ucdavis.zoom.us/j/95882849672.
His abstract: "Because they vector pathogens to humans, mosquitoes impact millions of people every year. The global strategy for the management of mosquito-borne diseases involves controlling vector populations, to a large extent, through insecticide application. However, vector-borne diseases are now resurgent, largely because of rising insecticide resistance in vector populations and the drug resistance of pathogens. In this context, the Vinauger Lab studies the molecular, physiological, and neural basis of mosquito behavior. We rely on a collaborative, integrative, and
multidisciplinary approach, at the intersection between data science, neuro-ethology, molecular biology, and chemical ecology. Our long-term goal is to identify targets to disrupt mosquito-host interactions and reduce mosquito-borne disease transmission."
On his website, Vinauger elaborates: "The ability of mosquitoes to detect, process, and respond to olfactory information emitted by their hosts can affect disease transmission. The magnitude of their responses to host and plant odors varies drastically throughout the day, but, despite their clear epidemiological relevance, the neural and molecular mechanisms acting at the circuit levels to control mosquito behavior remain to be determined. In the lab, we employ an interdisciplinary approach combining behavioral assays, electrophysiological recordings, transcriptomic analysis, and CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, to characterize rhythms in odorant detection, perception, and olfactory behavior, thereby identifying the genetic basis of the temporal plasticity in mosquito-host interactions."
Molecular geneticist and physiologist Joanna Chiu, professor and vice chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology and a Chancellor's Fellow, will serve as the host. "I have very high regard for Dr. Vinauger's integrative and multidisciplinary research into the biochemical and neurophysiological basis of insect behavior," Professor Chiu said. "His research program is innovative and rigorous, leveraging techniques in quantitative behavioral analysis, bioengineering, neurobiology, and computational methods to address exciting and important questions in mosquito biology and behavior."
The Vinauger lab "studies the molecular, physiological, and neural basis of mosquito behavior," according to its website. "We are a group of experimental biologists, relying on a collaborative, integrative, and multidisciplinary approach, at the intersection between data science, neuro-ethology, molecular biology, and chemical ecology. Our long-term goal is to identify targets to disrupt mosquito-host interactions and reduce mosquito-borne disease transmission."
The Vinauger lab's latest publication, "Visual Threats Reduce Blood-Feeding and Trigger Escape Responses in Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes," appears in the Dec. 9, 2022 edition of Scientific Reports.
"The diurnal mosquitoes Aedes aegypti are vectors of several arboviruses, including dengue, yellow fever, and Zika viruses. To find a host to feed on, they rely on the sophisticated integration of olfactory, visual, thermal, and gustatory cues emitted by the hosts. If detected by their target, this latter may display defensive behaviors that mosquitoes need to be able to detect and escape in order to survive. In humans, a typical response is a swat of the hand, which generates both mechanical and visual perturbations aimed at a mosquito. Here, we used programmable visual displays to generate expanding objects sharing characteristics with the visual component of an approaching hand and quantified the behavioral response of female mosquitoes. Results show that Ae. aegypti is capable of using visual information to decide whether to feed on an artificial host mimic. Stimulations delivered in a LED flight arena further reveal that landed Ae. aegypti females display a stereotypical escape strategy by taking off at an angle that is a function of the direction of stimulus introduction. Altogether, this study demonstrates that mosquitoes landed on a host mimic can use isolated visual cues to detect and avoid a potential threat."
Vinauger joined the Virginia Tech faculty in October 2017, after serving as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Washington, Seattle. Educated in France, he received his bachelor of science degree in biology/biological sciences in 2006 from the University of Orléans; his master's degree in 2008 from the University of Tours, France; and his doctorate in 2011 from the University of Tours, Research Institute on Insect Biology.
The UC Davis Department of Entomology seminars are held on Wednesdays through March 15. (See schedule.) Eight of the 10 will be in-person in 122 Briggs Hall, and all will be virtual.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
"Insect wings are flexible, dynamic living structures that are composed of long tubular veins, and thin membrane," she says in her abstract. "Veins act as conduits, containing hemolymph (insect blood), oxygen supply (through trachea tubes), and nerves (sensory information in flight). Wings allow an insect to perform a myriad of behaviors such as predation, migration and pollination."
"In my research, I work to understand how wing health and function is maintained, and how that relates to insect development, behavior, and ecosystem. My research program incorporates foundational physiology (wing vein structure, venation pattern active systems) quantifying the biomechanics of flow produced by an insect (circulation, wing expansion, flapping flight), and determining how agricultural practices affect insect health. Here I will discuss how venation pattern affects circulation dynamics in the wings of the North American grasshopper (Schistocerca americana) and how it barely scratches the surface of understanding circulation in insects."
In a First Person piece in Biology Open, the Company of Biologists, Salcedo describes herself as "an insect biomechanist, but perhaps functional morphologist is more accurate. I've studied how insects fly, how their muscles move, how they breathe and circulate hemolymph. My PhD looked into their wing structure at several levels: external, internal and global. Externally, I looked at how wing shapes differ between species and how we might compare them. Within the insect wing vein, I studied how hemolymph is transported across the wing. Overall, I looked at how an insect's multiple hearts contribute to internal circulation."
Salcedo, who received a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to investigate fundamental insect physiology, holds three degrees: a bachelor of science in applied and computational math sciences (2012( from the University of Washington; a bachelor of science in molecular, cellular and developmental biology (2012) from the University of Washington, and a doctorate in biomechanics, biology and applied math (2018) from Harvard.
Coordinating the seminars is community ecologist Rachel Vannette, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology (firstname.lastname@example.org). To access the program live, go to https://zoom.us/j/559909612 and enter meeting ID: 559 909 612.
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Meeting ID: 559 909 612