Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the research has implications on preventing mosquitoes' transmission of deadly diseases, including West Nile virus and Dengue Fever.
"NIH rarely grants awards of this duration or of this amount," said Steven R. Angle, dean of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. "This award is a testament to the significance of Prof. Raikhel's work and his reputation for scholarly excellence."
Raikhel is the sole principal investigator on the project, entitled "Regulation of Vitellogenic Genes in the Mosquito." The grant is one of several he and his laboratory team have received from federal agencies to support their research on the mosquito species aedes aegypti.
"Mosquitoes have developed an evolutionary need to take blood, and it has been established that blood intake is closely tied to egg development," said Raikhel. "By understanding the mechanisms that regulate egg development and blood feeding, we can develop the means to interrupt the disease-transmission cycle."
Raikhel has been working to understand and manipulate the genetic and cellular mechanisms of yolk and egg development for 23 years. His accomplishments include being the first scientist to engineer a transgenic mosquito with an altered immunity system. His research focuses on genetic studies of blood-feeding arthropods, especially mosquitoes, which are responsible for transmitting many different diseases to animals and humans.