Welcome to the Michel Laboratory
We study the innate immune system of insect vectors and how it relates to the pathogens these insects transmit. Over the last eight years, we have identified a variety of immune factors that either positively or negatively affect the survival of the malaria parasite in its mosquito vector.
Specifically, we are currently focusing our research efforts in two areas. The first is the characterization of a group of serine protease inhibitors called serpins. These proteins control key innate immune reactions against different stages of the malaria parasite and potentially other disease agents. The second focus is the analysis of cellular immunity in mosquitoes and their contribution to malaria parasite transmission. We are determining the mechanisms that lead to hemocyte proliferation and activation in adult female mosquitoes.
To do our work, we use techniques from a wide range of fields including bioinformatics, biochemistry, structural biology, cell biology, genetics, and ecology. In addition, we continue to expand the molecular tool box for non-model insects to identify intrinsic factors of vector competence. Our long term goal is to apply our findings to the design of novel vector control strategies, which envision the interruption of disease transmission within the insect vector by chemical means.