Jewelna Akorli, PhD
Research background and interest
I have broad research interests in vector-borne and Neglected Tropical Diseases. My ultimate aim is to contribute to understanding host-vector-parasite interactions by applying the in-depth information that can be obtained from using ‘omics’ tools. With a background in evolutionary genetics and entomology, I am interested in the underlying genetic and ecological factors that drive vector competence. My postdoctoral projects have investigated interactions between environment, mosquito vectors, symbionts and Plasmodium parasites, to increase knowledge and advance efforts in new strategies for disease control in endemic settings. Currently, my research focuses on elucidating the mechanisms of microbial secreted factors on parasite development in natural vector populations in disease endemic settings. Through my research I seek to address questions like; do the differences in bacterial diversity in vector populations contribute to variations in vector competence and disease epidemiology? Are these variations affected by changing environmental, climatic and anthropological factors? How do these bacteria function in affecting vector competence and parasite development? and can the bacteria be feasibly useful in transmission–blocking strategies in natural populations?