Robert L. Glaser
PhD, Cornell University (1989)
Postdoctoral training: Carnegie Institution of Washington
The long term goal of research in Dr. Glaser's laboratory is to reduce the burden of mosquito-transmitted viral diseases. Dr. Glaser's expertise is in insect genetics and medical entomology. He uses genetic approaches to elucidate how genetic variation in mosquitoes can modify a mosquito's ability to be infected by, and transmit, virus, primarily studying Culex mosquitoes and their susceptibility to infection by West Nile virus. Ultimately, a better understanding of how mosquito-virus interactions impact disease emergence will improve assessment of disease risk and the timely deployment of preventive interventions.
Current projects include:
- Determining how mosquito genetics influences levels of the bacterial symbiont Wolbachia pipientis, which infects the West Nile virus vector Culex quinquefasciatus and modulates the mosquito's susceptibility to viral infection,
- Using West Nile virus infection of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a tractable genetic system to identify and characterize insect host genes that modulate susceptibility to West Nile virus infection, and
- Determining the extent to which mosquito genetics contributes to traits that determine vector competence in field populations of the West Nile virus vector Culex pipiens.
Other areas of research interest that Dr. Glaser's lab has pursued previously using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system include studies on the functions of histone variants in control of transcription and DNA repair and the role of the lysosomal enzyme palmitoyl-protein thioesterase 1 in the etiology of Batten Disease, a genetic neurodegenerative disease of children.