The research programs of the department focuses on malaria, medical entomology and Chagas disease. Major funders are National Institutes of Heath, National Science Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates, USAID and the Department of Defense.
The malaria research program seeks to understand the basic biological mechanisms of malaria transmission to guide development and evaluation of vaccines and therapies. The approaches include vector biology, epidemiology, immunology, mosquito metabolism, molecular biology and genomics. The faculty maintains laboratory based research and collaborations currently in Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Mali, Rwanda, Thailand, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The department faculty is also affiliated with the Vector-Borne Infectious Disease Research Center.
The medical entomology program focuses on vector biology, control, genetics, human behavior associated with infection risk, and the impact of vector-borne infections on pregnancy. Local, national, and international research has spanned the major vector-borne pathogens and diseases including dengue, Zika, malaria, Chagas, filariasis, and Lyme disease. The program is closely allied with undergraduate and graduate training in both the field and laboratory.
The Chagas disease program aims to understand the epidemiology of parasite transmission in the US and other endemic areas and to develop tools for control. These include vector control interventions, epidemiological surveillance, and the pre-clinical evaluation of new drugs and vaccines. In addition to laboratory-based research, faculty members participate in international collaborative projects currently in Mexico, Colombia, and Ecuador.
This center was established in 2013 with the mission of maximizing the public health impact of malaria programs by applying innovative and interdisciplinary research tools to solve current and expected challenges in malaria elimination. The center seeks to improve malaria programs through applied population-based evaluation research that is interdisciplinary in its approach for building a robust evidence base to guide malaria control and elimination efforts in the most affected areas. The center has ongoing applied malaria research in Haiti, Zambia, Mali, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Zanzibar:
- Malaria Elimination in Haiti (Malaria Zero)
- Malaria Elimination in Zambia
- Strengthening Malaria Monitoring and Evaluation Systems (SMMES) in Ethiopia
- International Center for Excellence in Malaria Research (ICEMR)
- Collaboration on malaria research with PATH-Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa (MACEPA)
- Ethiopia malaria surveillance (Ethiopia Associate Award)
- Lives Saved Tool (LiST) modeling for the Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group
- Improving Malaria Diagnostics (IMAD) sub-agreement
- Translating efficacy into effectiveness of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) using an interpersonal communication intervention to decrease the gap between ITN ownership and use
- Planning malaria training in Zambia
- Impact evaluation of indoor residual spray campaign in Eritrea
- Measuring malaria transmission in Haiti