For people living in the US, the Zika epidemic of 2016 seemed to have come out of nowhere and to have now almost disappeared. Zika infections and microcephaly in newborns were daily headline news. Now where are we?
Alex Perkins, Ph.D., Eck Family Assistant Professor in the Departments of Biological Sciences and Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics, and a member of the Eck Institute for Global Health, recently published a study looking at behavior of patients with one of the most common symptoms of disease: fever. Surprisingly, the impact of this common disease symptom on the mobility and contact patterns of an infected person is rarely studied and “seldom accounted for in mathematical models of transmission dynamics.”
Graduating Biology major, Diane Choi, is being honored with multiple academic achievement awards as the Class of 2016 prepares for graduation. Choi is the recipient of three major undergraduate awards for her work while a science student at Notre Dame.
The awards include the Outstanding Biology Student Leader Award from the Department of Biological Sciences recognizing “a senior Biology major who has made outstanding contributions, through leadership and service, to advance the interests of other students in the department;”
Human malaria, uniquely transmitted by a handful of anopheline mosquitoes, continues to attack nearly 200 million people and claims the lives of 600,000 each year. Africa bears the biggest burden due to its dominant vector, Anopheles gambiae. Ever since the groundbreaking Anopheles gambiae genome sequencing project was published in 2002, efforts have been underway to harness genomics for novel vector-based malaria control strategies.
Nora J. Besansky, O’Hara Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and member of the Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame, assembled a diverse and multinational team of scientists to crack the genetic code of the Y chromosome in malaria mosquitoes for the first time.
Insect-borne diseases — such as malaria, dengue, West Nile and the newly emerging chikungunya — infect a billion people every year; more than a million die each year and many more are disabled. The effects of climate change, according to Edwin Michael, professor of biological sciences and member of the Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame, mean these deadly diseases are no longer reserved for the developing world.