RU researchers to make presentations at state mosquito conference
Original research done by four RU undergraduates in Radford University's Arbovirus and Medical Entomology Lab will be presented Feb.12-14 at the Virginia Mosquito Control Association annual meeting in Virginia Beach.
RU students James Cardenas, Nathaniel Frisch, Nikki Holland and James Walker will join Associate Professor of Biology Justin Anderson and Biology Instructor Tiffany Carpenetti at the annual gathering dedicated to mosquito control and improved public health in Virginia. Among the topics discussed at the three-day session will be adult and larval mosquito control, disease vector studies, mosquito biology and behavior.
Frisch, a senior biology major from Virginia Beach, Va., and Walker, a senior biology major from Detroit, will present a talk, titled "Pseudomonas bacteria can kill La Crosse virus and mosquito larvae."
Holland, a senior biology major from Floyd, Va., will present her research into the expression of pokeweed antiviral protein in insect cells.
Cardenas, a sophomore chemistry major from Lorton, Va., will present his and Carpenetti's research into the fecundity of mosquitos in local water, titled "Effect of varying water quality on Aedes albopictus life history traits."
"It really helps to take what I have learned in the classroom and apply it directly to relevant public health problems," said Frisch. "It is also a challenge to work in what I have to say because I have more words than the listeners want to hear."
Presenting is an important experience for the undergraduate researchers, according to Anderson.
"They are doing real science, applying it and communicating with the scientific community," he said. Anderson will also do a presentation at the conference on the ways insect-borne pathogens are transmitted by humans.
The Arbovirus and Medical Entomology Lab is home to the effort to develop ways to prevent transmission of arboviruses, like the La Crosse virus (LACV) and the dengue viruses (DENV). LACV is a common cause of pediatric encephalitis throughout much of the eastern United States. The dengue viruses are responsible for over 50 million cases of dengue fever in tropical areas every year.