Area of Doctoral Study: Molecular Medicine
Undergraduate Institute: Pennsylvania State University
Research Advisor: David Serre, Ph.D.
Description of Research
My lab is mainly interested in understanding the biology of eukaryotic pathogens and their interactions with their hosts. Our studies include applying genomic approaches to investigate vector biology and vector-borne diseases. We recently developed a molecular assay that is designed to detect and identify most eukaryotic parasites and some viruses from a given sample via universal PCRs combined with high-throughput sequencing. For my thesis project, I hope to implement this novel approach to characterize eukaryotic pathogens present in mosquitoes collected from different locations in Africa (Guinea, Mali, etc.). In addition, I plan to complement the analyses of the eukaryotic pathogens with assessment of the genetic diversity and population structure of the mosquito species. In theory, this comprehensive approach will provide information on the geographic and temporal distribution of the pathogens and the vectors that carry them.