Thesis subject

Tracking the house-entry flights of host-seeking malaria mosquitoes in Malawi, Africa

This study will examine the flight behaviour of the malaria vector, Anopheles gambiae, around houses in semi-field conditions in Malawi, Africa.

Using a stereoscopic high-speed videography system, we will track three-dimensional flights of host-seeking mosquitoes around houses. From this we will determine how these mosquitoes find and enter houses while searching for human hosts. The results will be used to adapt house designs in order to minimize human biting by malaria mosquitoes, and consequently the spread of malaria.

This position requires a diverse range of skills. The MSc student will carry out experiments that involve tracking mosquito flight paths using high-speed, high-resolution cameras and advanced, custom-made computer programmes. The student will work closely with study investigators to set up these experiments. The ideal candidate will have an interest in bio-mechanics, animal behaviour or medical entomology, and have significant experience with computer programming (preferably Python). She/he must be tech-savvy, possess excellent troubleshooting skills and have prior research experience. She/he should be able to work well within a multidisciplinary, international team as well as independently. The data collection will be done over a ~2-month period in Malawi, Africa.

This study is part of a collaborative project between the Experimental Zoology Group and the Laboratory of Entomology.

Examiner: prof.dr. Johan van Leeuwen
Supervisors: Florian Muijres
Jeroen Spitzen
Robert McCann
Contact: Florian Muijres (via contact form)
Credits: 36 ECTS
Begin date: 2018-01-01
Used skills: Basic knowledge of experimental design, biomechanics and/or insect behaviour
Requirements: Preferred knowledge (but discuss with supervisor): Functional Zoology (EZO-30806)