Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Research Areas

Past and Present:

The department has had prominent entomologists such as Profs: A.J. Haddow, J.D. Gillet, L. Goma, P. Corbet, G.A.H. McClelland, W.H.R.Lunsden, and Drs:A.W.A. McCrae and S.D.K. Sempala. These contributed a lot to our understanding of the biology, ecology and behavior of mosquitoes in Africa. Indeed the Institute is known as the mother of medical entomology on the continent. Current staff consist of Dr. L.G. Mukwaya, Assistant Director and head of the division, Dr. Josephine Birungi, Principal Research Officer and Dr. Jonathan Kayondo, Research Officer. Current interest is mainly on ecology, biosystematics, molecular genetics and molecular phylogeny

Taxonomy

Over the last 20 years, the division has contributed to morphological and biochemical based taxonomic studies, within the major yellow fever vectors Ae. africanus and Ae.simpsoni, to clarify complex uncertainties present in those species. At the same time, capacity to perform diagnostic molecular species identification in the major malaria vectors A.gambiae and A.funestus has been acquired. Our long-term goal is to obtain reliable markers for distinguishing various vector from non vector mosquitoes and also acquire increased technical competence in advanced taxonomic research.

Population biology

Population genetics and structure

In general, structuring within vector populations in Uganda is still poorly understood, yet it is vital during insecticide and genetic-based control interventions. Work on genetic and ecological structuring between mainland and island populations of the malaria vector A.gambiae is currently being carried out.

Behaviour and insecticide resistance

Over the years we have looked at differentiation between human-biting and non human-biting populations of the yellow fever vectors Ae.simpsoni and Ae. africanus and found tentative evidence for a genetic basis. Therefore, continued surveillance of vector populations for behaviour and changes in other vectorial traits is required. Presently we are interested in the genetic association between host preferences, parasite infectivity, insecticide resistance and indoor vs outdoor feeding and resting behaviours in the malaria vector A.gambiae.

Alternatives in mosquito control

We are interested in control alternatives, especially those targeted at the acquatic stage of mosquito development. One such area is larval-based control using herbs in the genus Phytolacca and natural pathogenic microbes.

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