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SFU-Brazilian Researchers Connect to Tackle Insect Transmitted Diseases

By October 31, 2017No Comments

Researchers at SFU and Brazil’s Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) are collaborating to determine why certain insects transmit diseases. The work has brought Brazilian scientist Pedro Oliveira to SFU for a two-week stint to work with his collaborator, biological sciences professor Carl Lowenberger.

The two researchers began their collaboration nearly a decade ago, after discovering they were both involved in similar research on insects that transmit harmful and deadly diseases, including Dengue virus, Zika virus, and Chagas disease.

Lowenberger says the two are among a rare few research scientists who study both Aedes aegypti, the insect that transmits Dengue and Zika, as well as Rhodnius prolixus, the kissing bug that transmits Chagas disease.

“Much of our research looks at how these insect vectors recognize and eliminate parasites, and how the parasites inactivate or modulate the immune systems of the insect vectors for their own benefit,” says Lowenberger.