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Durham University

Department of Biosciences

Resistance of mosquito pupae to desiccation

Project description

Malaria mosquito is one of the deadliest animals on Earth, causing more than 400,000 death per year and affecting half of the world population. Our fight against malaria has currently stalled, due to the emerging insecticide resistance and changing climate. New methods of malaria and mosquito control, based on better understanding of mosquito biology, are urgently needed.
This project will focus on aquatic pupae of malaria mosquitoes Anopheles gambiae. You will investigate how well the pupae can survive a period of desiccation, mimicking natural conditions of draught that are likely to affect small bodies of water where mosquito larvae and pupae are likely to find themselves. You will investigate how the environmental temperature and humidity, as well as the composition of the pupal case, affects pupal survival and subsequent eclosion of adult mosquitoes.
Research skills that will be taught and used for this project include: mosquito rearing, behavioural assays, GC/MS analysis of cuticular hydrocarbons, gene knock-down with RNAi.
Required from you are: interest and research experience in entomology, chemical ecology, insect behaviour. Ability to visit the collaborator in Germany is strongly desirable.
This MSc project will be supervised by Dr Olena Riabinina (Durham) and Prof Thomas Schmitt (University of Würzburg, Germany).

Funding Notes

Applicants must have the ability to self-fund in full the costs to cover tuition fees, bench fees, and living stipend for a minimum of 1 year (full time).

How to Apply

Success will depend on the quality of applications received, funding, and meeting the minimum criteria required in terms of language and academic qualifications.
Further general information and the online application form for Postgraduate Study at Durham University is available at
If you are interested in applying, please contact Dr Olena Riabinina with a CV, contact details of at least two referees, evidence of English language ability, evidence of qualifications and a detailed covering letter explaining your interest in this research project and your future career plans.