ISE lecture

May. 12, 2022

Last January, we started a new lecture series entitled: "Nagoya University: International Science Exchange" (NU:ISE). In this lecture series, we invite early career scientists from all over the globe to present their research, and in turn we would like to encourage one of our own early career scientists to present their work at the guest's home institute, either within the same or a different scientific discipline.

The aim of this series is to establish new connections and promote international collaboration. As such, lectures will not only include (ready-to-be) published results, but also unsolved problems or open questions that require external input to be answered. Through this format we hope to stimulate discussion and scientific exchange.

We are happy to announce that the second speaker within the NU:ISE lecture series will be *Dr. Conor McMeniman*, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA. Dr. McMeniman will present some of his work on "*Decoding Mosquito Sensory Biology*", please see the abstract below. The lecture will be held /via /Microsoft Teams on _Thursday May 12th at 10 am JST_. Your participation will be greatly appreciated.


*What*: NU:ISE lecture
*By who*: Dr. Conor McMeniman, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA
*For who*: Faculty & Early Career Scientists within the Graduate School of Science; D & M students. B students and members from other faculties are welcome.
*Scientific discipline*: Biology
*When*: Thursday May 12th, 10 am JST
*Duration*: 1 hour (~ 30-40 min presentation; ~ 20-30 min discussion)


*Title*: Decoding Mosquito Sensory Biology

Mosquitoes are amongst the most dangerous animals on earth. To decode mosquito sensory biology, we have recently engineered optimized genetic toolkits for neuroanatomical studies and functional imaging in the nervous systems of the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti and African malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Progress in our laboratory mapping neural circuitry driving mosquito attraction to humans and avenues towards exploration of multisensory integration in the mosquito brain will be discussed.

*An Australian national, Dr. Conor McMeniman received his BSc with first-class honors in Parasitology in 2003 from The University of Queensland, Australia. He subsequently went on to receive a PhD in Biological Science from the same institution in 2009 under the mentorship of Professor Scott O’Neill, where he successfully established various strains of the obligate intracellular bacterium Wolbachia pipientis from the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster in the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, yielding a novel self-sustaining strategy to block arboviral replication in natural mosquito populations using Wolbachia.

From 2009-2015, Dr. McMeniman undertook postdoctoral training as a Human Frontier Science Program Postdoctoral Fellow at The Rockefeller University, NY, USA, where he studied the molecular genetics of mosquito carbon dioxide detection with Professor Leslie Vosshall. In September 2015, Dr. McMeniman was recruited to join Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to establish his own laboratory as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, and Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute. Dr. McMeniman is jointly appointed to the Department of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Dr. McMeniman’s research focuses on characterizing molecular and cellular mechanisms driving mosquito attraction to humans. His research team employs integrative techniques from fields spanning chemical ecology, genome engineering and neurobiology to elucidate how human odorants present in body odor and breath are detected and processed by the mosquito nervous system. Dr. McMeniman’s group additionally studies the impact of pathogen infection on mosquito sensory perception and behavior with a focus on chemosensory interactions between Plasmodium falciparum, Anopheles gambiae and humans. With this knowledge Dr. McMeniman’s research program aims to develop innovative strategies that lure or repel mosquitoes away from humans to eliminate transmission of vector-borne diseases.