Mosquitoes transmit the world's deadliest diseases such as malaria, dengue, Yellow fever, Chikungunya and Zika. More than half of the world’s population is at risk of contracting these diseases. Each year, over 300 million cases of malaria are reported. Dengue cases have risen 30 times in the last 3 decades and Zika is an emerging infectious disease that was declared a public health emergency of international concern in 2016.

Except for yellow fever, there are no effective vaccines for all these debilitating infections therefore control of mosquitoes is the only means of managing them. To evaluate success and failure points of current and novel mosquito control programs, decision-makers need timely, high throughput and cost-effective surveillance tools. This information is required to identify high risk areas in a timely fashion allowing for the prioritization of resources to communities most in need thus maximizing the efficiency of vector control interventions. Our study involves analysis of current and novel vector control intervention’s capability to reduce the burden of these disease in Africa and South America. We do this by applying the near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) technique to characterise mosquito populations’ abundance, infection capability and their survival rates. NIRS is a high throughput technique that requires little sample processing, zero reagents and minimal skills. Hundreds of samples can be analysed in a day allowing timely decision making by policy makers.

Dr Maggy Lord

Maggy Lord is a mosquito-borne disease researcher within the Centre of Animal Science at QAAFI. She obtained her PhD in vector biology at Griffith University in 2013. Her current research involves the development of novel tools for evaluating the effectiveness of control interventions for mosquito-borne diseases such as Malaria, Dengue and Zika.

She is the Principal Investigator of a USAID funded project focusing on the development of rapid, field deployable tools for detecting Arbovirus transmission hotspots in Brazil and has a track record in managing major international funding from Grand Challenges Canada.

Along with collaborators at the CDC and the USDA, she pioneered the use of the near-infrared spectroscopy technique for characterisation of malaria vectors in Tanzania and vectors that transmit arboviruses in Australia and Brazil. Maggy is also the most published author on the topic.

About QAAFI Science Seminars

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) has been hosting a high-profile seminar series across the disciplines of agriculture, food and nutrition science since 2014. With a range of speakers from Australia and abroad, the series explores how high-impact science will significantly improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the tropical and sub-tropical food, fibre and agribusiness sectors.

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The QAAFI Science Seminar Series will be livestreamed on Tuesday's from 12:00pm - 1:00pm (on weeks of seminars). Note: Not all QAAFI Science seminars are recorded.

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Large Seminar Room (3.142), Level 3 Qld Bioscience Precinct Building 80, St Lucia