Malaria is the most fatal vector-borne disease in sub-Saharan Africa. Insecticide-treated nets, indoor residual spray and artemisinin-based combination therapy are the primary intervention tools. However, the evolution and spread of insecticide resistance and drug resistance hinder the efficacy of these tools. Developing new tools for vector control and for resistance monitoring and management is of paramount importance. Recent advancements in ecology, molecular biology, and genomics provide exciting opportunities for developing new malaria vector control and resistance-monitoring tools. However, the vast majority of scientists from malaria-endemic countries have not been able to use these new technologies in their research. The scientific objectives of this competing renewal training application focus on population regulation of African malaria vectors, development of new malaria vector surveillance and control tools, and population genetics and antimalarial drug-resistance in malaria parasites. The overarching goal of this program is to enhance malaria research capacity and advance the career development of promising young scientists from sub-Saharan African countries. We propose to accomplish this goal by training four postdoctoral fellows, five Ph.D. students and five junior scientists. In addition to obtaining research experience in both laboratory-based molecular biology and field-based ecological research, each year, all trainees will attend a core training curriculum that focuses on biostatistics and data management, molecular population genetics, population ecology, scientific writing and responsible conduct of research. The superb infrastructure and capacity in the international training sites (ICIPE and KEMRI in Kenya) and in the US (University of California at Irvine and UC-Riverside) are particularly suitable for the proposed training. This training program will contribute significantly to the career development of African scientists by bridging laboratory and field research experience in vector and parasite biology, by equipping them with new technologies, by providing opportunities for them to develop valuable Africa-wide and international linkages, and by enabling them to develop independent or collaborative research projects.
This research will enhance our understanding of the fundamental biology of mosquito vectors and malaria parasites, and will facilitate the development of new malaria vector surveillance and control tools. The program will advance the careers of scientists from malaria endemic African countries and enhance the research capacity in Africa by transferring state-of-the-art technology to African scientists.
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