Dr Jeremy Herren
Jeremy Herren holds a PhD in Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Genetics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) Switzerland.
Since joining icipe in 2014, he has been leading the development of a novel mosquito symbiont-based transmission blocking strategy for the sustainable control of malaria (SymbioVector Project). It is increasingly being appreciated that symbiotic microbes hold promise for blocking the transmission of malaria. These symbionts can be disseminated through insect populations and by virtue of their vertical transmission (mother to offspring) they present a more sustainable strategy for the control of vector-borne disease transmission than conventional methods.
The SymbioVector team has established a pipeline for symbiont discovery and characterization, involving wild-caught mosquitoes having their microbes profiled prior to being challenged with Plasmodium-infected blood from infective donors. The team recently discovered a novel, vertically transmitted symbiont (Microsporidia MB) in Anopheles gambiae with a strong malaria transmission blocking phenotype (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16121-y). The SymbioVector team is currently developing a strategy to use Microsporidia MB that involves increasing its population frequency in a stable manner, using affordable and scale-able dissemination methods.