Dr. Conn is trained as a medical entomologist, cytogeneticist, and evolutionary geneticist. Research in Dr. Conn's laboratory focuses on the evolutionary genetics and phylogeography of several species of Neotropical malaria vectors. With Argentinian, Brazilian, Colombian, Panamanian and Peruvian collaborators using mitochondrial and nuclear genes, the laboratory is investigating:
- The demographic history of Anopheles albimanus from the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Colombia and Central America
- The evolutionary genetics of the malaria vector Anopheles pseudopunctipennis from northwestern Argentina
- Lineage divergence and phylogeography of Anopheles albitarsis s.l. along the Amazon River
- Lineage divergence and phylogeography of Anopheles darlingi throughout its extensive range
- Lineage divergence of the species complex Anopheles triannulatus s.l., a secondary malaria vector
The Conn laboratory also compares the phylogenetics and evolution of mitochondrial genomes of several mosquito species. Using microsatellite markers we are investigating population genetics of vectors in the Albitarsis Complex and Anopheles nuneztovari in Amazonian Brazil. We also analyze ecological and environmental aspects of anopheline larval breeding sites, and are beginning to use our data to construct ecological niche models. We are also testing hypotheses of vector species incrimination, behavior, abundance, and the effects of deforestation on biting rates in different habitats in Peru.