Serap Aksoy, Ph.D., professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) at the Yale School of Public Health, will present the annual lecture of the Medical Library Associates on Wednesday, April 27, at 2 p.m. The lecture, “Advancing global public health: building bridges across disciplines and advocating for evidence-based health policies,” will be virtual, and registration is required; register here.
Dr. Aksoy is a tropical medicine researcher whose work focuses on the epidemiology of insect-transmitted (vector-borne) and zoonotic diseases. Her research has been on tsetse flies and the pathogenic parasites they transmit that cause a highly neglected and fatal disease in humans in Africa known as sleeping sickness. Her laboratory focuses on deciphering the vector-parasite molecular dialogue and parasite development during the transmission process, with the ultimate goal of identifying novel targets of interference and developing transmission-blocking vaccines to reduce disease.
Her fundamental and interdisciplinary work on tsetse and its microbial symbionts has identified key principles that shape host-microbe interactions. Her studies with tsetse’s mutualistic microbes identified nutritional contributions that facilitate female fecundity and mediate host immune system development. Her studies with tsetse’s commensal microbiota led to a novel biological method, coined as paratransgenesis, in which anti-parasitic molecules are synthesized in the beneficial gut microbes, thus making the gut environment inhospitable for disease-causing parasites. The ability to spread such modified microbes into natural insect populations is being explored to reduce disease transmission as a novel biological method.
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