SYNOPSIS: Vector-borne diseases are responsible for a large proportion of the global infectious disease burden. In Australia this includes the endemic mosquito-borne disease Ross River Fever and the emergence of Japanese Encephalitis. The incidence of both viruses has strong seasonal and climatic drivers, which in turn affect the ecology of mosquito vectors, vertebrate hosts and transmission. These diseases require a “One Health” approach to their investigation, as their pathways involve human, animal and ecosystem components.
The Mosquito Control Laboratory, in collaboration with a variety of state and institutional partners is working to develop surveillance methods that will help identify transmission pathways. These remain poorly understood for both RRV and JEV. Our approaches include: 1) screening mosquito trap collections (using qRT-PCR, metabarcoding and RNAseq) to identify vectors, their vertebrate associations and the pathogens they carry, 2) the use of mosquitoes as “flying syringes” that can be exploited to identify the presence of RRV / JEV antibodies in mosquito blood meals, and 3) laboratory assessments of vector competence using contemporary viruses and probable vectors.
Key questions to be addressed with this project:
• What are the spatio-temporal patterns of RRV and/or JEV infection in humans, reservoirs and mosquitoes?
• How does environment (urbanization, biodiversity, climate) affect those patterns?
• What are the major pathways for human RRV and JEV infections in Australia?
• Can we define the human population at risk of infection?
Please contact the supervisors if you are interested to express your interest. Provide your CV and Academic Transcripts.
Scholarship round, your application has to be nominated by the supervisor, for QIMR Berghofer International Scholarship ends on the 30th of August: