Getahun Merid Negash

Dr Merid Negash Getahun

Dr. Merid Getahun is a Senior Scientist under the Animal Health Theme.  He did his Ph.D. and Postdoctoral studies at Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena Germany on Drosophila olfaction.

His research interests are in the Neuroethology of veterinary, medical, and agricultural important insects to develop olfaction-based insect vectors and pest control technologies for improving health and food security and maximizing insects’ beneficial role.

He studies how various vectors-livestock-pathogens interact, which is critical to understanding how vectors make decisions, how livestock defend themselves using secondary metabolites from disease pathogens, and how pathogens modulate both host physiology and vector behaviour for their own survival. To use infection-induced/modified secondary metabolites for vector control (attractants and repellents) formulation and to develop simple user-friendly livestock diseases diagnostic tools and naturally inspired drugs. He also studies how vectors interact with their environment such as the selection of birthing substrates/sites, the role of rumen microbes in various livestock secondary metabolites production, including greenhouse gas emissions, and their role in livestock-environment interaction. Such a study will give us insight into how to make livestock environmentally friendly as well as to protect them from vectors bite and diseases. Detailed knowledge of livestock-pathogens-vectors interaction will give us insight into the control and evolution of defense in livestock.

Some of his achievements include collaborating with icipe colleagues to establish a state-of-the-art laboratory in insect neuroethology and climate science, bringing a new scientific environment to icipe such as neurogenetics, odorant-receptor integration, single sensillum recording, developing techniques to identify odorant receptors involved in coding behaviorally relevant odorants, for instance, tsetse repellent compounds. He has developed a simple pastoralist-friendly biomarker-based animal trypanosomosis and surra diagnostic tool, formulated a selective attractant targeting infected tsetse flies, gravid stomoxys, developed selective biting flies traps and an effective nanopolymer beads dispenser, as an odorant carrier. He also developed a method using rumen microbes and secondary metabolites networking manipulation to make livestock farming environmentally sustainable while empowering pastoralists and farmers in livestock vectors and disease management.

He has mentored and continues to mentor Ph.D. and MSc students in Chemical Ecology.