Photo: ©2014 Alex Wild

The Vosshall Laboratory is interested in the molecular neurobiology of mosquito host-seeking behavior. Female mosquitoes require a blood meal to complete egg development. In carrying out this innate behavior, mosquitoes spread dangerous infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue, Zika, Chikungunya, and yellow fever. Humans attract mosquitoes via multiple sensory cues including emitted body odor, heat, and carbon dioxide in the breath. The mosquito perceives differences in these cues, both between and within species, to determine which animal or human to target for blood-feeding. We have developed CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing in the Aedes aegypti mosquito with the goal of understand how sensory cues are integrated by the female mosquito to lead to host-seeking behavior. Some of the questions we are currently addressing are: Why are some people more attractive to mosquitoes than others? How do insect repellents work? How are multiple sensory cues integrated in the mosquito brain to elicit innate behaviors? How do female mosquitoes select a suitable body of water to lay their eggs?

The long-term goal of all of our work is to understand how behaviors emerge from the integration of sensory input with internal physiological states.

SmellResearch in our lab is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the NIH/NIDCD: National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. We also receive support through a Quadrivium Award for Innovative Research in Epigenetics from the Quadrivium Foundation, and a Proof of Concept Award from the Robertson Therapeutic Development Fund. We are grateful for past support from the National Science Foundation, the Klarman Family Foundation Grants Program in Eating Disorders Research, the John Merck Foundation, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, the McKnight Endowment Trust for Neuroscience, the Irma T. Hirschl Trust, and the Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, administered by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

Vosshall Lab Photo April 2017Vosshall Lab April 2017
Front row, left to right: Krithika Venkataraman, Ben Matthews, Kyrollos Barsoum, Ellen De Obaldia, Leslie Vosshall, Meg Younger, Margo Herre, Molly Liu, Trevor Sorrells. Back row, left to right: Emily Dennis, Libby Mejia, Julia Canick, Laura Duvall, Zach Gilbert, Nipun Basrur, Veronica Jove, Gloria Gordon, Barbara Ghelardi, Alison Ehrlich, Takeshi Morita. Missing: Isabel Gutierrez
Photo:Trevor Sorrells

Past Vosshall Lab Photos 2000-2016

"The act of smelling something, anything, is remarkably like the act of thinking. Immediately at the moment of perception, you can feel the mind going to work, sending the odor around from place to place, setting off complex repertories through the brain, polling one center after another for signs of recognition, for old memories and old connection." Lewis Thomas

Photo: ©2014 Alex Wild alexanderwild.comThe Vosshall Laboratory is interested in the molecular neurobiology of mosquito host-seeking behavior. Female mosquitoes require a blood meal to compl

Back to Top