PostDoc: Modeling Population Genetics for Suppression of Mosquito-Vectored Diseases

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Dengue is a mosquito-vectored disease that affects over 100 million people each year. With funding from the NIH, FNIH, and W. M. Keck Foundation, we have developed a set of mathematical models ranging from simple to complex, aimed at assisting the design and deployment of novel approaches for suppressing transmission of dengue by its major mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti.  We are especially interested in evaluating the potential utility and risks
associated with using genetically engineered, selfish genetic elements to drive genes into mosquito populations that render them incapable of transmitting dengue fever or decrease mosquito density. Our new work also extends to models relevant to suppressing malaria.
New developments in molecular genetics promise to increase the efficiency of building gene drive systems with novel properties. The postdoc in this position will build a set of simple to complex models to examine the expected dynamics of these gene drive systems in mosquitoes and other taxa.
The most detailed model that we have developed simulates the population dynamics and population genetics of Ae. aegypti in a city on the Amazon river, Iquitos, for which there are rich data sets on both mosquito dynamics and dengue epidemiology. An accompanying epidemiological model is currently under development. The goals of two other postdocs in our group are to expand the mosquito model and the human epidemiology model to encompass the entire city of about 400,000 people. The postdoc in this new position will also collaborate with the other postdocs to use these detailed models to test gene drive systems.
In addition to working on model development and analysis, the person in this position will collaborate in an interdisciplinary research group composed of mosquito ecologists, disease epidemiologists, molecular biologists, biomathematicians, ethicists, and scientists from disease-endemic countries. The person in this position will have the opportunity to visit Iquitos to better understand one of the systems being modeled. Desirable skills include the ability to program in C++ or knowledge of a related programming language, and training in evaluation of mechanistic models.

To apply: email a cover letter and CV to
For more details on the project see the following publications:

Esvelt,  K. M.,  A. L. Smidler, F. Catteruccia, G. M. Church. 2014. Concerning RNA-guided gene
drives for the alteration of wild populations. eLife. 10.7554/eLife.03401.

Oye, K. A. et al. 2014. Regulating gene drives. Science. 345:626-628 Published online 17 July 2014

Huang, Y., Lloyd, A.L., Legros, M., Gould, F. 2010. Gene-drive into insect populations with age and
spatial structure: a theoretical assessment. Evol. Appl. ISSN 1752-4571.

Gould, F., Huang, Y., Legros, M., Lloyd, A. L. 2008. A killer-rescue system for self-limiting gene
drive of anti-pathogen constructs.  Proc. Royal. Soc. Lond. B. 275:2823-2829.

Magori, K., M. Legros, M. Puente, D. A. Focks, T. W. Scott, A. Lloyd, F, Gould. 2009. Skeeter Buster:
a stochastic, spatially-explicit modeling tool for studying Aedes aegypti population replacement
and population suppression strategies. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 3(9): e508.

Okamoto KW, Robert MA, Gould F, Lloyd AL (2014) Feasible Introgression of an Anti-pathogen
Transgene into an Urban Mosquito Population without Using Gene-Drive. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 8(7):
e2827. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002827