Bitten by the science bug

Bitten by the science bug

Bitten by bugs for science!

Would you get bitten by a mosquito for science? What if you had to feed 500 of the biting bugs?

Feeding 500 hungry mozzies is what Leslie Vosshall does. A neuroscientist at Rockerfeller University, Leslie is studying mosquitoes to help fight mosquito born diseases. Have a look at this video to find out more:

Feeding the mosquitoes from Scienceline on Vimeo.

Leslie aims to discover why some people smell better to mosquitoes than others. Wild mozzies can carry parasites that cause malaria. Malaria parasites manipulate the host's biology, send a signal to mosquitoes saying "Bite this person!". This helps the parasite to be transmitted from person to person.

Mosquito lab_113127988

Studying mosquitoes in the lab could help prevent spread of fatal diseases

Mozzies need a blood meal - ew! - for the females to lay their eggs. In the lab, the easiest way to feed the mozzies is for Leslie to stick her arm in the tank and feed them!

Could you do this for science? Although having 500 mozzies bite you would be unpleasant, the goal is to understand the spread of disease. Malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever are all carried by mosquitoes and kill around 1 million people per year. Understanding how mozzies use their sense of smell to choose their victim may help to prevent these deaths.

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