Taiwan Partnering Award: Mosquito Research - From Sensory Biology to Vector Control

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Ear Institute

Abstract

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Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The UK Taiwan partnering award is a networking grant and as such itself will not have any immediate own findings or non-academic impact but it has allowed for receiving additional funding and for setting up a wide international network of both academic and non-academic stakeholders. Examples here are (i) the agrichemical company Syngenta, which the co-applicants of this award (Dr Chun-Hong Chen/Dr Joerg Albert) have gotten in contact with to explore novel approaches to mosquito control. Other examples are protagonists from Target Malaria - a not-for-profit research consortium that aims to develop and share technology for malaria control. The activities of this partnering award (especially the two symposia, one in Taiwan, one in UK) have connected us to these and other non-academic stakeholders.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Healthcare
Impact Types Societal

 
Description AIM: 'Acoustic Insecticides' against Malaria!
Amount £99,859 (GBP)
Organisation University College London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 06/2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC pump priming award: In the eye of the swarm: Mapping the acoustic landscape of mosquito disease vectors [https://www.gla.ac.uk/research/az/antivec/fundingopportunities/#/awardedprojects:anti-vecpump-primingfunding,av,av,av,av,av/pp28joergalbert]
Amount £99,864 (GBP)
Funding ID AV/PP28 
Organisation University of Glasgow 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2018 
End 09/2019
 
Description Taiwan Partnering Award: Mosquito Research - From Sensory Biology to Vector Control
Amount £25,284 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/R021007/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2018 
End 05/2020
 
Description UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship
Amount £1,156,000 (GBP)
Funding ID MR/S015493/1 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2019 
End 04/2023
 
Description Collaboration with Dr Chun-Hong Chen International Partnering Award (Taiwan Partnering Award: Mosquito Research - From Sensory Biology to Vector Control) 
Organisation National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) Taiwan
Country Taiwan, Province of China 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Together with Dr Chun-Hong Chen we will conduct joint UK/Taiwan workshops with international leaders in the field of mosquito sensory and circadian biology. We will also start proof-of principle experiments with novel mosquito mutants and we will conduct skill/knowledge transfer workshops between our labs. We hold the expertise in mosquito auditory and circadian biology.
Collaborator Contribution Together with Dr Chun-Hong Chen we will conduct joint UK/Taiwan workshops with international leaders in the field of mosquito sensory and circadian biology. We will also start proof-of principle experiments with novel mosquito mutants and we will conduct skill/knowledge transfer workshops between our labs. Dr Chen's lab holds the expertise in mosquito mutagenesis.
Impact none yet (still to start)
Start Year 2017
 
Description Mosquito behavioural analysis (Dr Lauren Cator) 
Organisation Imperial College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Together with Dr Cator, we conducted novel tests for sound reception in disease transmitting mosquitoes. We also are in the process of devising novel microphone systems to measure mosquito sound emissions in larger swarms. Dr Cator is auxiliary partner of an ANTI-VeC pump priming award which my lab received and which emerged out of the UK/Taiwan partnering award. Our Taiwanese partner, Dr Chen from Zhunan, is also part of the team of researchers. My lab provided the biophysical basis for the new auditory tests, which we are also testing at Imperial College (Silwood Park Campus).
Collaborator Contribution Dr Cator has a large colony of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and also the crucial expertise (and equipment) to record and analyse mosquito mating behavior.
Impact 1) creation of novel behavioural assays to test mosquito acoustic communciation.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Mosquito mutant generation and analysis (Dr Andrea Crisanti) 
Organisation Imperial College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are right now devising novel fitness tests, which the lab of Dr Crisanti can use to inform any future field releases and modelling thereof.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Crisanti's lab provided invaluable insights into mosquito transgenesis and also provided us with novel mutants, which added to our research on mosquito acoustic communication.
Impact ANTI-VeC pump priming award Novel team of collaborators for mosquito research (multiple disciplines: genetics, biophysics, behavioural biology, ecology, neuroscience, agrichemical industry)
Start Year 2018
 
Description mosquito swarming and behaviour within swarms (Drs Spaccapelo and Cavagna) 
Organisation University of Perugia
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Our team provided the knowledge of acoustic communication and hearing within swarms, which will be crucial for understanding swarm formation and biology. This is the ultimate goal of Dr Spaccapelo and Dr Cavagna.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Spaccapelo and Dr Cavgna have the ideal facilities to test larger swarms of malaria mosquitoes. Their work is interdisciplinary stretching from basic biology (Spaccapelo) to theoretical physics (Cavagna). This environment makes it possible for us to understand the relative importance of hearing and acoustic communication within mosquito swarms.
Impact Dr Spaccapelo contributed to our success to receive an ANTI-VeC pump priming award in UK.
Start Year 2018
 
Description UK/Taiwan (BBSRC/MOST)-led network formation in mosquito sensory biology and vector control 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The core activities of this partnering award are centred around two symposia, one held in August 2018 at the NHRI in Zhunan (Taiwan) and one held in September 2019 at the UCL Ear Institute in London (UK). The symposium in Taiwan kick-started the network formation by gathering eminent mosquito researchers from Taiwan and wider Asia. The second symposium in London will build on the success and network built by the first symposium and invite the world-leading experts in mosquito biology and control from the entire world (confirmed attendants come from Boston (Harvard), Princeton, Shanghai, Zhunan, London, Liverpool, Keele, Montpellier, Perugia, Ithaca (Cornell). This symposium and the network it has created is unique in various aspects:
1) It assembles for the first time the world leading mosquito/insect scientist with the goal to introduce a new approach to mosquito control, which is led by a deeper understanding of mosquito sensory ecology.
2) It is led by two ideally placed and complementary partners (Dr Chen, NHRI, Taiwan / Prof Albert UCL, UK) who are well connected within their own (geographic and scientific) communities and can thus drive forward the creation of a new community, with a new outlook on mosquito control. This effort is crucial for the long-term success of the activities, within which the current partnering award is only a first step.
3) The activities are not restricted to the scientific communities but extend to other stakeholders and policymakers, such as industry or natinal governments. One example of first outreach activities shall be given: On March 13, 2019, Dr Cheng and Prof Albert visited the Taiwanese consulate and met with the UK Representative Amb. David Yung-Lo Lin and the Taiwanese Director of the Science and Technology Division, Prof. Jiun-Huei Proty Wu to discuss further ways to grow the UK/Taiwan scientifc collaboration and the mosquito work in particular. Prof. Wu will also give the opening remarks at the London symposium (06-08/09/2019). These activities reflect the ambition of this partnering award to create a much wider national and international impact.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
 
Description collaborative, cross-project visit at the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact During a 4-day visit at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Prof Albert explored the collaborative potential across three ongoing (or recently ceased) grants:
Award References: BB/L02084X/1 + BB/M008533/1 + BB/R021007/1 + ERC-consolidator grant Clock mechanics (648709), S34, BB/R000549/1, 1206383, 1336457

The visit included a central seminar with the LMU's neurolunch series and meetings with various group leaders and internationally leading PIs in animal evolution, neuroscience and health (e.g. Prof Benedikt Grothe, Prof Axel Borst, Prof Nicolas Gompel, Prof Peter Becker, Prof Till Roenneberg and Prof Martha Merrow). The aim of this visit was to present the recent data of the involved projects just prior to submission for publication and to explore how the overlaps between the different projects can be harvested by new collabrations with experts in the respective fields. Examples include the exploitation of circadian clock function and auditory homeostasis (Profs Becker, Grothe and Merrow), or the evolution of sensory modality and submodality (Profs Borst + Gompel). The short-term goal will be to apply for larger national (e.g. Wellcome Trust collaborative awards) or international (e.g. European Research Council) follow-up grants! The LMU is a centre of German academic excellence, which is of strategic interest for UCL.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018