Michael Turelli to Discuss Bacterium That May Stop the Spread of Dengue Fever
May 18, 2012
|Michael Turelli will present the Faculty Research Lecture Award seminar at 4:10 p.m., Wednesday, June 6 in 1322 Storer Hall.|
DAVIS--UC Davis theoretical evolutionary biologist Michael Turelli, the recipient of the 2012 Faculty Research Lecture Award, will speak Wednesday afternoon, June 6 on “How Good Luck, Great Collaborators, Pretty Mathematics and a Maternally Inherited Bacterium (Wolbachia) May Stop the Spread of Dengue Fever."
The public seminar, the annual Faculty Research Lecture Award seminar, begins at 4:10 p.m. in 1322 Storer Hall.
Turelli is a distinguished professor of genetics, Department of Evolution and the Center for Population Biology.
Turelli is a member of a research team studying whether the Wolbachia can block mosquitoes from infecting people with the dengue fever virus.
From the Academic Senate, sponsor of the award: "His research has included mathematical analyses in ecology and evolutionary genetics; theoretical and data-analysis approaches to understanding the origin of species, especially patterns of hybrid inviability and sterility and the geography of speciation; and empirical and theoretical analyses of the population biology of Wolbachia, maternally inherited intracellular bacteria found in many insects and other invertebrates."
"Torelli's empirical analyses with professor Ary Hoffmann of Australia of the rapid spread and evolution of Wolbachia underline ongoing research to control the spread of dengue fever with Wolbachia, and his mathematical analyses with professor Nick Barton of Austria are central to deploying this strategy."
His work drew international interest last year with a news story, "Science Community Buzzing with Mosquito Release," by Daniel Bateman in the Cairns Post, Queensland, Australia. A research team, including Torelli, released 6000 lab-bred mosquitoes "bearing a potential bacterial control for dengue fever" and is already working on "tackling malaria," Bateman reported in his Jan. 5, 2011 post.
Turelli received his doctorate in 1977 from the University of Washington in biomathematics and his bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1972 from UC Riverside.
(Editor's note: Professor Thomas Scott of The Department of Entomology and his lab do research on Aedes aegypti, the mosquito the transmits dengue. Faculty affiliated with the Department of Entomology who work on Anopheles mosquitoes, which transmit malaria, are Anthony Cornel, Gregory Lanzaro and Shirley Luckhart.)
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology