- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
"Tsetse flies house an assortment of endosymbiotic bacteria and serve as the prominent vectors of pathogenic African trypanosomes," Weiss says in his abstract. "Tsetse and insect stage trypanosomes are metabolically dependent on the fly's endosymbiotic bacteria in order to maintain their physiological homeostasis. I will describe these interdependencies and
how they can be exploited to decrease tsetse's vector competency."
Weiss received his master's degree from the University of Queensland, Brisbane, in 1997 and his doctorate from the University of Alberta, Canada (2003).
"My research focuses on acquiring a better understanding of the relationship between insect disease vectors and their associated micro-organisms," he writes on his website. "To this end, I currently use the tsetse fly (Glossina morsitans morsitans) as a model system. These insects are the sole vectors of pathogenic African trypanosomes, which are the causative agent of Human African trypanosomiasis. Tsetse flies also harbor indigenous endosymbiotic bacteria that are intimately associated with their host's physiological well-being. I am interested in learning more about (1) the evolution adaptations that permit host tolerance of bacterial endosymbionts, (2) how symbiotic bacteria impact host physiology, with specific emphasis on nutritional supplementation and host immunity, and (3) how to use microbial symbionts to reduce disease vector competence."
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