Frank H. Collins George and Winifred Clark Professor

Genetics of Arthropod Vectors of Human Pathogens
Frank H. Collins

Research Interests

The two broad areas of work in my laboratory are (1) genome level studies of arthropod vectors of human pathogens and (2) field and laboratory research on malaria vectors, especially the mosquito Anopheles gambiae, which is the primary vector of malaria parasites in subSaharan Africa.

My laboratory directs a contract from the National Institutes of Health to develop and manage a web-based, bioinformatics resource center that provides scientists with access to all data related to the genomes of arthropod vectors. Management of this resource, which we call VectorBase, involves both developmental work in the areas of bioinformatics and computer science as well as the direct analysis of the genomes that are displayed and managed by VectorBase. Much of the work in this area involves interdisciplinary links with faculty and students in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in the Notre Dame College of Engineering.

In the area of direct work on the biology of malaria vectors, my lab now focuses on the development of molecular tools that will permit better resolution of questions about vector population ecology and ecological genetics and the epidemiology of malaria transmission. The primary subjects of this work are the African malaria vectors A. gambiae and A. funestus. While most work in my group is laboratory based and emphasizes techniques of molecular biology, genetics, and genomics, I am also involved in a number of field studies with collaborators in Africa, and my group is planning to expand the field work to include malaria transmission in Indonesia.