Fevers from the Forest
Dengue is one of them.
Dengue, transmitted by the daybiting Aedes aegypti mosquito, globally infects 50 to 100 million people yearly, according to dengue expert Tom Scott, professor of entomology at UC Davis. At risk are some 2.5 to 3 billion people, primarily in tropical and sub-tropical countries. The most severe form of the disease, dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF), strikes half a million a year and kills an estimated 5 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Those alarming statistics are why scientists like Scott and Kathryn “Kathy” Hanley devote their lives to studying the emergence and control of dengue.
Hanley will speak on “Fevers from the Forest: Dynamics of Sylvatic Dengue Virus and Chikungunya Virus in their Primate Hosts and Mosquito Vectors in Southeastern Senegal from 12:10 to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 30 in 122 Briggs Hall.
Scott will introduce Hanley, an associate professor at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, and now on sabbatical (she's working in the Scott lab).
The Hanley lab investigates the molecular biology, evolution and ecology of emerging RNA viruses like dengue and influenza, with the goal of using this basic knowledge to design better methods to control the spread of these dangerous pathogens.
Abstract of Her Talk:
"Mosquito-borne dengue virus exists in two ecologically and evolutionarily distinct transmission cycles: an ancestral sylvatic cycle in which the virus is transmitted between non-human primates and arboreal Aedes, and a derived human cycle in which the virus is transmitted by domestic and peridomestic Aedes, primarily Ae. aegypti. This seminar will present current research on the evolutionary and ecological factors that promote, and constrain, the emergence of sylvatic dengue virus into transmission among humans."--Kathryn Hanley.
Kathryn Hanley, who joined New Mexico State University as an assistant professor of biology in 2004 and was promoted to associate professor in 2010, says she is a proud native of New Jersey, and "yes, I stand by that statement." She received her bachelor of arts degree from Amherst College where she majored in biology and minored in English poetry. After graduating magna cum laude, she entered a Ph.D. program at UC San Diego. Her dissertation research on host-parasite interactions in parthenogenetic lizard species involved fieldwork across the islands of the South Pacific. Hanley received her Ph.D in biology in 1994, and subsequently conducted postdoctoral research at UC Davis, the University of Maryland and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
She credits NIH for initiating her investigation of the emergence and control of dengue virus that remains the focus of her research today.
The Scott lab was recently featured on National Public Radio. The lab's research on daily temperature fluctuations drew international attention last April when the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published that work. The research, Scott said, helped explain why dengue increases during certain times of the year in “tropical areas where mosquito-borne diseases inflict an enormous burden on human health."
If you miss Hanley's lecture, you can probably view it on UCTV. Professor James R. Carey is recording research seminars and posting them on UCTV.
The dengue mosquito, Aedes aegypti. (Photo courtesy of James Gathany, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)