Leal Group (Maeda-Duffey Lab) is part of a multidisciplinary team of medical entomologists, molecular biologists, chemical/behavioral ecologists and biochemists from the University of California, Davis and UC, Riverside campuses, which just received funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to improve strategies to control urban and peri-urban Culex mosquitoes. Mosquitoes in this genus are major vectors of human diseases throughout the world. In the U.S. Culex mosquitoes have been identified as the principal vectors of West Nile Virus (WNV), a life-treating disease in some cases .The overall goal of this research program is to improve strategies to control Culex mosquitoes by modifying methods for the application of chemical insecticides, developing novel methods for monitoring metabolic resistance to these insecticides and the development of improved methods for trapping gravid Culex mosquitoes. The Leal group component of this project is aimed at optimizing trap efficacy through the development of better lures for gravid Culex mosquitoes. Chemical prospecting for novel attractants is being conducted by using state-of-the-art approaches. Potential lures are being assessed by sensory physiology (electrophysiology), flight observations (wind tunnel and videography) and a molecular approach based on affinity to a carrier protein (odorant binding protein). This multidisciplinary effort is undertaken in collaboration with Dr. Ring Carde -UC Riverside, Dr. Anthon Cornel -Mosquito Control Research Laboratory, Kearney Agricultural Research Center, Bedoukian Research Center. Our effort is supported by operational specialists from the Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District, the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District, the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District and Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control District, and GIS analysts from UC ANR.
NIH-supported postdoctoral positions are now available for enthusiastic individuals with PhD degrees and experience in chemical ecology or biochemistry/molecular biology. Qualified applicants are encouraged to apply. Please send CV, list of publications, e-mail and contact information of three references to Dr. Walter S. Leal (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The research program at the Maeda-Duffey Lab is also supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF),
and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA),
National Research Initiative Competitive Grant Programs (NRI).
Exciting news!!! On-line Seminar to French Graduate Students
As part of an on-going effort of the University Outreach & International Programs (link here) and the Department of Entomology (link here) to strengten an agreement of cooperation between UC Davis and Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon (INAPG) (link here), Walter Leal just presented an on-line seminar to French graduate students. After explaining some aspects of the molecular basis of pheromone perception in insects, Walter Leal discussed details of olfaction with French students. Prof. Frederic Marion-Poll was the moderator and organizer at the French end. Leal presented his lecture at 8 AM (April 30) while more than 25 French graduate students packed the cozy seminar room at INAPG a few minutes before the lecture started at 5 PM (French time).