- College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Evolutionary Genomics and Cytogenetics of Disease Vectors
Dr. Sharakhov seeks to understand the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of mosquito evolution, adaptation, and reproduction.
About half a million human lives are lost each year by malaria, a disease transmitted exclusively by the Anopheles mosquito. Some of the most effective public health measures against vector-borne diseases throughout history have been those targeted at the vector. However, because of growing insecticide resistance, the available strategies for alleviating the impact of malaria are not sufficient. There is an urgent need to explore novel strategies for vector-borne disease control. Dr. Sharakhov’s laboratory develops and implements cytogenetic and genomic tools to understand the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of mosquito evolution, adaptation, and reproduction. The research team combines high-resolution microscopy and expertise to unravel the cellular basis of the male germline development and its natural disruptions in interspecies hybrids of malaria mosquitoes. Dr. Sharakhov also works to uncover the fundamental mechanisms through which interactions between chromosomes and the periphery of the cell nucleus regulate genome function. This research provides the foundation for the development of novel genome-based approaches for vector control.