One of our PhD candidates, Eloise Stephenson, recently attended the 12th Mosquito Control Association of Australia & Arbovirus Research in Australia Symposium at the Gold Coast. The theme of this symposium was “Managing challenges and threats with new technology and research”.
Highlights of the conference included new and interesting technologies such as;
The ability to test for mosquito DNA in water samples up to a month after a mosquito has been in the water (Jonathon Darbo, QIMR Berghofer),
The efficacy of using sugar-based surveillance for arbovirus detection instead of sentinel chickens (Jay Nicholson, Department of Health WA),
And new protocols to characterise pooled mosquito samples using next-generation sequencing (Jana Batovska, AgriBioscience).
More general fun facts included;
Learning about the unusual group of mosquitoes belonging to the genus Malaya that feed on ant vomit (Cameron Webb, University of Sydney),
How to attract male mosquitoes with different sound frequencies (Brian Johnson, James Cook University),
And the lengths medical entomologist go to collect data – in one case sitting at a site for 50 minutes every hour and catching any mosquitoes that land between the hours of 6pm and 6am. If that isn’t dedication to your research than we don’t know what is! (Weng Chow, The Australian Army Malaria Institute)
Elle also presented on her PhD, which focuses on the non-human reservoirs of Ross River virus. She discussed how literature reviews, wildlife networks and collaborations are critical components of untangling the reservoir mess.
The presentation must have gone well, as we were thrilled to hear she won the Dr E. N. Marks award for the Best Student Presentation. A joint win with Jana Batovska from AgriBioscience in Victoria, and a fantastic achievement!
Overall the conference was a great success, with new insights, collaborations and resources to strengthen our research in this field.