Differential mosquito attraction to humans

Published on October 31, 2023   38 min

A selection of talks on Immunology & Inflammation

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My name is Maria Elena De Obaldia. Today, I'll be speaking to you about my research on differential mosquito attraction to humans and how this is associated with the levels of carboxylic acids on the skin. This research was conducted in New York at the Rockefeller University during my postdoctoral fellowship.
The reason we are so interested in understanding why some humans are more attractive to mosquitoes than others is because mosquitoes spread viral diseases that sicken hundreds of thousands of people per year. Two of the major culprits for the spread of mosquito-borne diseases are pictured here. These are female mosquitoes of the species Aedes aegypti and Anopheles gambiae. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are the ones used in this study and they're responsible for spreading Yellow fever, Dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya. The Anopheles gambiae female is the major vector of Malaria, which causes about 500,000 deaths per year. I want to note that only female mosquitoes bite humans and they do this because they need to obtain protein from our blood in order to lay eggs.
You've probably noticed in your everyday life that some people seem to get many more mosquito bites than others. We wanted to study this in the lab. We're not the first people to do so. Several other groups have studied this in both field environments and laboratory environments.