Iowa State University




Dr. Brad Blitvich

Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine

Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine

Brad Blitvich is a virologist who has spent more than 20 years studying mosquito-borne viruses, particularly those known as “flaviviruses”. Some flaviviruses such as West Nile virus, dengue virus and Zika virus have a wide host range because they infect both mosquitoes and other “hosts” (animals like humans, monkeys, cattle, rodents, and birds) when the mosquitoes take blood from those animals. Other flaviviruses have a narrow host range -- they only infect mosquitoes and are not passed to other animals even when mosquitoes take their blood. Still other flaviviruses only infect vertebrate animals and are not picked up by feeding mosquitoes. Much of Brad’s work has to do with improving our understanding of why these different viruses are or are not successful in moving between different hosts. Better understanding of that could potentially lead to methods to block transmission between mosquitoes, humans, and the animals we care about. Brad also does work with more immediate impact on public health, including developing better diagnostic tools for flaviviruses and helping to conduct the largest-ever study of the impact of mosquito-borne disease on human and animal health in Mexico. He has been at Iowa State since 2006.

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Dr. Joel Coats

Iowa State University

Department of Entomology

Joel Coats is Distinguished Professor of Entomology & Toxicology at Iowa State University. He is an insect toxicologist with expertise in natural products as insecticides and insect repellents, including investigations of their selectivity, mechanisms of action, metabolism, synthesis of biorational derivatives and analogs, and quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR). A current focus is on uses of terpenes from plant essential oils as repellents, insecticides or synergists. Joel holds 9 patents, has published nearly a dozen books and 150 scientific papers, started the Toxicology Graduate Program at Iowa State that has run continuously since 1985, and has served as major professor for 45 graduate students.

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Dr. Ryan Smith

Iowa State University

Department of Entomology

Ryan Smith has over 15 years of experience in vector biology, primarily focused on mosquito biology. His research interests are broadly focused on insect innate immunity to better understand how mosquito immune responses influence vector competence and pathogen transmission. In addition, Ryan has also led the mosquito surveillance efforts in the state of Iowa since joining Iowa State in 2015, continuing one of the country’s longest continual mosquito surveillance programs. Most recently, these efforts have focused on addressing the threat of invasive Aedes species in Iowa, as well as the continued surveillance and monitoring of WNV in the state to better understand WNV transmission.

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