Yale researcher to discuss mosquito-transmitted diseases at WCSU

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences will host Dr. Yiota Kotsakiozi, postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, for a discussion about “From Yellow Fever to Zika: Tracking the Vector, Aedes Mosquitos.” Kotsakiozi will speak about her research into mosquitos and the diseases they can transmit at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, 2017, in room 125 of the Science Building on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. This talk is free and open to the public.

Vector-borne diseases like dengue fever and Zika affect a large proportion of the world’s population. Kotsakiozi will discuss the “yellow fever” and “tiger” mosquitos that are the major carriers of some of these diseases. These mosquitos have been able to colonize every continent, except Antarctica, during the past 30-40 years and have the capacity to adapt to colder climates, which has enabled their populations to survive.

Kotsakiozi, who studies these different mosquitos, explained, “To gain knowledge about these highly invasive species, we studied the population genetics, genetic structure and biogeographic patterns for both vectors to infer their invasion history in regions of the world. Since the populations differ in their ability to transmit the viruses, knowing the genetics of newly introduced mosquitoes and their origin will enable us to infer the relative threat for each area and to contribute to the design of mosquito control efforts.”

Kotsakiozi received her doctorate from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, where she studied land snails. After completing her degree, she joined the laboratory of Dr. Nikos Poulakakis at the University of Crete, Greece, where, as a postdoctoral fellow, she studied reptiles and amphibians in the Aegean archipelagos region. Kotsakiozi currently is a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Powell at Yale University, where she studies Aedesmosquitoes.

For more information, email Assistant Professor of Physiology Dr. Michele Monette at monettem@wcsu.edu.




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