Professor of Entomology and Disease Epidemiology, Pennsylvania State University

The Rasgon Laboratory integrates population biology, ecology, molecular tools and theory to address fundamental and applied questions related to vector arthropods and the pathogens they transmit, with emphasis on release of genetically-modified mosquitoes for disease control, pathogen transmission dynamics and bioterrorism issues.

My broad research interests are in the relationship between the genetics of vector populations and the epidemiology of vector-borne pathogens. I address this broad question using both top-down and bottom-up approaches. Specifically, I am interested in 1) how natural genetic variation in wild vector populations conditions phenotypic variation in pathogen transmission and 2) how natural genetic variation in wild vector populations can be artificially altered to have a directed effect on pathogen transmission dynamics.

A major research focus of my laboratory is the development, evaluation and deployment of methods to spread introduced transgenes into natural vector populations. Ongoing projects include creation of methods to infect the mosquito Anopheles gambiae with the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia, development of viral-based systems for gene expression and drive in Anopheles mosquitoes and studies of the relationship between ecological factors and the success of transgenic mosquito releases. Other major questions under investigation include examining relationships between vector population genetic structure and the epidemiology of vector-borne pathogens, using Culex tarsalis and West Nile virus as a model system.

I am looking for motivated people who are interested in applying a wide array of integrated techniques to investigate these important and exciting questions.

Experience

  • –present
    Professor of Entomology and Disease Epidemiology, Pennsylvania State University