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K-State Today

July 8, 2011

Entomologist presents research at international symposium

Submitted by David Margolies

Marcelo Ortigao, associate professor of entomology, presented a talk, "RNA interference in sand flies: from functional studies to effect on Leishmania development," at the International Symposium on Phlebotomine Sandflies in Kusadasi, Turkey, April 24-28. Ortigao also co-chaired a session on physiology and immunology of sandflies.

Leishmania are parasites that cause distinct pathologic conditions in humans, collectively known as leishmaniasis. Ortigao's research focuses on vector-parasite relationships and novel approaches to prevent disease transmission. Leishmania are transmitted by infected female sand flies. Within the sand fly, leishmania undergo a complex cycle culminating in the infectious forms.

Ortigao is working to characterize molecular interactions between sand fly vectors and leishmania. His talk presented research results showing how targeting vector molecules can interfere with pathogen development.