Postdoctoral Research Award 2016
Kevin Vogel, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of entomology, uses comparative genomics and molecular biology to study reproduction and development processes in mosquitoes. Over the last three years, he worked to identify and characterize a hormone receptor that, when silenced, blocked the maturation of mosquito eggs. Vogel hopes that more complete understanding of this important receptor may lead to new ways of controlling mosquito populations. He is also involved in another project, which focuses on characterizing the bacteria that colonize the digestive tract of mosquitoes—the mosquito gut microbiome. Recent studies have demonstrated that mosquitoes are incapable of growing and developing into adults without their gut microbiota, and the microbiome also plays an important role in the survival of the pathogens that mosquitoes transmit.