Dr. DeGennaro is a neurogeneticist with 20 years of experience in biomedical research. Throughout his scientific career, he has used molecular genetics to address biological questions. His graduate training at NYU Medical Center was with Ruth Lehmann, one of the founders of developmental genetics, who has made fundamental contributions to the fields of germ cell and RNA biology. DeGennaro's postdoctoral training at Rockefeller University was with Leslie Vosshall, a leader in the field of olfaction who initially identified insect olfactory receptors and determined their unique mechanism of action. During his post-doc, he created the first mosquito mutant using zinc-finger nucleases to initiate the molecular genetic analysis of olfactory receptor function in yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. The work revealed new knowledge about the integration of host cues, mosquito host-preference, mosquito nectar-seeking, and the mechanism of DEET repellency.
His current goal is to identify olfactory receptors that mosquitoes use to sense their human and plant hosts. These genes will provide molecular targets that can be used to screen for new chemicals to modify mosquito behavior. His results have appeared in a number of peer-review publications including Nature, Developmental Cell, Current Biology, PLOS Genetics, and the Journal of Biological Chemistry. His laboratory at Florida International University studies the molecular genetics of mosquito host detection.
With all the issues of mosquitos in the world today and specifically in our region, it was time for an unpopular subject--little did we know how intriguing it is. Don't just hope you won't get bit, learn the 5 W's of mosquitos and the varied approaches to battle them.
Do you know the difference between a male and female mosquito? Join Matt on Tuesday, October 4 @ 5:30 p.m. for his public presentation. Sign up to join Matt's field project scheduled for Wednesday, October 5 @ 3 p.m.--an ideal time for collecting and identifying mosquitos around the island. Matt will be discussing techniques for preventing mosquito breeding as well as mosquito life cycles. Locations TBA.