Home > News and Events > 2016 News > The Rise and Fall of Diseases Caused by Insects is a free public lecture on January 28  in the 2017 Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science

The Rise and Fall of Diseases Caused by Insects is a free public lecture on January 28  in the 2017 Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science

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25 January 2017

Matt ThomasA free public lecture titled "The Rise and Fall of Diseases Caused by Insects" will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 28, in 100 Thomas Building on the Penn State University Park campus. The event is the second of six consecutive Saturday lectures in the 2017 Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science, a free public minicourse that does not require registration or exams. The overall theme of the 2017 lecture series is "The Quest for One Healthy Planet." The six speakers are scientists whose research is at the frontiers of knowledge about how the health of the Earth is affecting the health of people and other forms of life on our planet.

The speaker for the lecture on January 28 is Matt Thomas, Professor and Huck Scholar in Ecological Entomology and Director of the Ecology Institute at Penn State. He will describe how Earth's changing environment is affecting the ecology and evolution of mosquitos that can infect people with diseases, including Zika and malaria. The lecture will include the latest scientific knowledge about which diseases are likely to increase and which might be controlled  with effective techniques.

Thomas also will discuss the ongoing research in his lab, where scientists are exploring many aspects of the ecology and evolution of insect pests and diseases. The aims of this research are to better understand the consequences of global change, to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of pest and disease management, and to use knowledge and insights from ecology and agriculture to benefit public health.

Current research projects in his lab involve studying the effects of environmental temperature on the transmission of diseases carried by insects, understanding the consequences of insecticide resistance for malaria control, and developing and evaluating novel control tools for the development of improved integrated vector management strategies. During his lecture, Thomas will show how his research team is developing novel control tools that could assist in the global strategy to eliminate malaria.

Future lectures in the 2017 series are:

  • "New Technologies Against Infectious Diseases" on February 4 by Nita Bharti, Assistant Professor of Biology, Center for Infectious disease Dynamics Research Associate, and Society in Science Branco Weiss Fellow at Penn State;
  • "One World . . . One Health" on February 11 by Peter Hudson, Willaman Professor of Biology and Director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at Penn State;
  • "The Race to Grow Enough Food for Everyone" on February 18 by Jonathan Lynch, Professor of Plant Nutrition at Penn State; and
  • "Marine Mammals as Health Sentinels for Oceans and Us" on February 25 by Gregory D. Bossart, Senior Vice President for Animal Health, Research, and Conservation at the Georgia Aquarium.

The Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science is an annual free public minicourse organized and supported by the Penn State Eberly College of Science as an enjoyable and enlightening learning opportunity for eager learners in the Central Pennsylvania area and beyond. After presentation, the lectures are closed captioned and then archived online for viewing worldwide. More information about the Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science and links to archived videos of previous lectures are online at science.psu.edu/frontiers.

For more information or access assistance, contact the Eberly College of Science Office of Communications by phone at 814-863-4682 or by e-mail at sci-comm@psu.edu.

[ B. K. K. ]

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