Prof. Andrea Crisanti Imperial College London, UK2 Talks
Andrea Crisanti is professor of microbiology at the University of Padova, and previously professor of molecular parasitology at Imperial College London. He pioneered the molecular biology of the human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae and has made several important scientific contributions that advanced the genetic and molecular knowledge of the malaria... read moreparasite and its mosquito vector. His work is based on a visionary solution aimed to harness genetic elements similar to yeast homing endonuclease genes that would allow genetic modifications to spread from a few individuals to an entire vector population. These modifications would be able to either interfere with mosquito fertility, thereby causing population suppression, or make mosquitoes resistant to the malaria parasites, rendering them innocuous, thus blocking the disease transmission in its most important vector. The power of this approach was demonstrated by the crashing of laboratory cage populations inoculated with a relatively small number of individuals carrying a gene drive construct that targeted a conserved and constrained sequence in a female-specific region of a gene called doublesex. This remarkable breakthrough has important implications, well beyond malaria, for the field of synthetic biology and gene editing as whole and will inform advances in the control of other vector-borne diseases.