Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair, Department of Biological Sciences
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Research Interests: The major focus of the Zwiebel laboratory is the characterization of specific genes and their products that control important behavioral processes in the life cycle of insects that act as disease vectors, particularly host (i.e. blood-meal source) seeking/selection in the mosquito Anopheles gambiae, the principal vector for malaria in Africa. Malaria is caused by a protozoan parasite of the genus Plasmodium that is transmitted to humans through blood feeding by female Anopheline mosquitoes. In this context, the Zwiebel lab is examining the molecular events of olfaction, as this sense predominates the overall host preference and other essential behaviors in mosquitoes and other insects. This aspect of the mosquito’s behavior is especially important as it makes a significant contribution to the vectorial capacity of this arthropod vector, as well as playing a similar role in the overall impact of many other insects of economic importance.
Keywords: Malaria, neuroscience, olfaction, vector biology