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Burger and Beer
Science on Tap
A monthly lecture series at UMD that explores the latest discoveries in science and technology in a relaxed atmosphere with food and drink

Engineering Good Fungi to Kill Bad Mosquitoes Quickly

Brian Lovett
Entomology Ph.D. Student, University of Maryland

Monday, July 29, 2019
Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Lecture begins at 6:30 p.m.

Milkboy Art House

MilkBoy ArtHouse
7416 Baltimore Ave.
College Park, MD 20740

Space is limited. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Happy hour specials will be available until 7 p.m.

Questions? Contact Abby Robinson
at or 301-405-5845.

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Mosquitoes have earned their title as the world's deadliest animal. Despite fighting against these insects since the dawn of society, communities around the world are still under the knuckle of the diseases mosquitoes carry, like malaria. This disease, which is spread when female mosquitoes drink blood, kills more than 400,000 people per year. Worldwide, there are about 219 million cases of malaria each year. For the first time in over a decade, we are losing the battle against malaria because mosquitoes have gained resistance to the pesticides we have used to keep them at bay. In response to calls for new control methods, we have engineered a natural fungal disease of mosquitoes to kill them quickly. We achieved this by changing the genome of this fungus so that it expresses an insect-specific spider toxin only when submerged in insect blood. This talk will detail how this fungal biotechnology was designed and how it stops mosquitoes from transmitting malaria parasites. Lovett and colleagues have worked with scientists in Burkina Faso to test this engineered fungus in contained field conditions in the malaria-endemic village Soumousso. This work is an international effort to develop a new technology that can empower communities to stop mosquitoes from transmitting disease.

This event is a partnership between the UMD College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences and The Clarice and MilkBoy ArtHouse, a local crossroads for dynamic entertainment, social gathering and creative dining in downtown College Park, Maryland. This event is also sponsored by the UMD Science Alumni Network.

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