Challenges

The Vector Biology Program at NIAID is vibrant and strong, with research on many aspects of the field and a wide variety of organisms. The Program uses a broad range of funding mechanisms that support new as well as more experienced investigators. The Program encourages interdisciplinary projects and collaboration among field- and lab-based investigators in order to help to elucidate the complex interactions among vectors, their hosts, the pathogens they transmit, and the ecological environment in which these interactions take place. Only by understanding these complex networks of interactions can we achieve sound, comprehensive, and sustainable vector management and disease prevention.

The training and retention of new investigators must continue to be a priority; not only as part of the regular research mechanisms (R15, R01, etc.) but also through training grants such as the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSAs) (F32, F33), the Career Development Awards (K22), and the Institutional Research Training grants (T32). In addition, Conference Grants (R13) can help fund participation of students and new investigators in scientific meetings.

Communication and collaboration among federal agencies involved in vector research will enable the resources of all agencies to be used more effectively in supporting the research community.

Conclusion

The vector biology field is at an exciting juncture. With great potential for novel vector management strategies underway and exciting cutting-edge research being performed, there is great promise ahead. Our challenge is to work together as a group, with open communication channels, to achieve the promise of the future to improve people’s health.

REFERENCES

Anischenko, M., R. A. Bowen, S. Paessler, L. Austgen, I. P. Greene, and S. C. Weaver. 2006. Venezuelan encephalitis emergence mediated by a phylogenetically predicted viral mutation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103(13):4994-4999.

Attaran, A., D. R. Roberts, C. F. Curtis, and W. L. Kilama. 2000. Balancing risks on the backs of the poor. Nature Medicine 6(7):729-731.

Ballinger-Crabtree, M. E., W. C. Black IV, and B. R. Miller. 1992. Use of genetic polymorphisms detected by the random-amplified polymorphic DNA polymerase chain reaction (RAPD-PCR) for differentiation and identification of Aedes aegypti subspecies and populations. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 47(6):893-901.

Barillas-Mury, C. V., F. G. Noriega, and M. A. Wells. 1995. Early trypsin activity is part of the signal transduction system that activates transcription of the late trypsin gene in the midgut of the mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 25(2):241-246.



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