Webinar: Field Research with Modified Organisms

 December 15, 2015

This webinar explored approaches, challenges, and general considerations with conducting field research and release with modified organisms in different communities. The webinar was an information-gathering meeting for the committee in which experts were invited to provide input to the committee.

Scott O’Neil, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Dr. Scott O’Neil is Professor and Dean of Science in the School of Biological Sciences at Monash University. His research interests are in insect interactions with bacterial symbionts and their potential utilization for controlling mosquito-transmitted disease. Dr. O’Neil’s research group is focusing on the biology of Wolbachia, an inherited bacterial parasite of invertebrates.Wolbachia are capable of exerting profound effects on the hosts they infect suchas inducing developmental defects like cytoplasmic incompatibility, inducing parthenogenetic development, overriding chromosomal sex determination, selectively killing males and even functioning as classical mutualists. He and colleagues are currently working on the development of Wolbachia as a novel method to interfere with the transmission of dengue fever, a disease that causes illness in more than 50 million people each year.

Danilo Carvalho, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna

Mr. Carvalho works for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and is a doctoral student at the University of Sao Paolo, Brazil. Mr. Carvahlo’s interests are in host-pathogen relationships, with a focus on the mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus. Prior to his position IAEA, Mr. Carvahlo was the manager for the Transgenic Aedes Project,  a partnership between Oxitec, Moscamed Brazil, and the University of Sao Paolo. The goal of the Transgenic Aedes Project is to evaluate field release of a transgenic Aedes aegypti (OX513A) as population suppression control and ultimately reduce the spread of Dengue in Brazil.

John Marshall, University of California, Berkeley

Dr. John Marshall is Assistant Professor in Residents of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Marshall’s research interests span genetic control of mosquito-borne diseases, parasite genomics, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases.  He completed his postdoctoral research on malaria epidemiology at Imperial College, population genetics at the California Institute of Technology, and field research at the Malaria Research and Training Center in Mali.  Dr. Marshall has also studied and published on gene drive systems for suppression of insect populations.

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