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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

Johns Hopkins: Postdoc Receives Human Frontier Science Program Grant to Support Research Into Mosquitoes’ Olfactory Attraction to Humans

Dr. Diego Giraldo, a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has received a grant from the Human Frontier Science Program, an international organization dedicated to supporting the study of the complex mechanisms of living organisms. He was one of three Johns Hopkins researchers to receive one.

Dr. Giraldo studies how the internal states of mosquitoes affect their olfactory response to humans. He said that the research could help in the development of new ways of discouraging mosquitoes from biting humans.

Dr. Giraldo is an assistant professor in Dr. Conor McMeniman’s lab in the Bloomberg School’s department of molecular microbiology and immunology. The lab is part of the insectary at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute.

The team is endeavoring to determine whether the presence of malaria parasites in a mosquito affects its attraction to humans. To that end, Dr. Giraldo and his team are tracing mosquitoes’ brain sensory nerves to determine how the smell of humans is coded in the mosquito brain. This research may be used to help develop mosquito repellants and traps, utilizing changes in mosquitoes’ smell-processing to attract or repel the insect.

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