Research in the Reiskind Lab
We are interested in the connections between vector ecology and the risk of pathogen transmission. We use number of theoretical concepts developed over the history of the field, from Sir Ronald Ross to Nikolas Pavlovsky to contemporary thinkers, to help guide our research questions. The concept of natural nidality suggests that knowing where and when we find vectors will be a sine qua non for disease transmission. As such, we are very interested in what determines which mosquitoes we find where on the landscape. This is influenced, in turn, by both biotic and abiotic variables we measure directly or indirectly. A second concept, vectorial capacity, describes the ability of a population of vectors to transmit a pathogen. This can be decomposed into factors that can be measured on individual vectors, and measurements of population level functions, like the intrinsic growth rate of a population. We approach these factors by doing experiments in the laboratory, again focusing on both abiotic conditions (especially temperature) and biological interactions (for example, competition). Outcomes may be adult survival, vector competence, extrinsic incubation period, behavior, and fecundity.