Dr Marcelo Gustavo Lorenzo

Scientific Field: 
May, 2018 to May, 2019

LE STUDIUM Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellowship


Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (René Rachou Research Center) - BR

In residence at

Insect Biology Research Institute (IRBI), University of Tours / CNRS - FR

Host scientist

Prof. Claudio Lazzari


Genomics of learning and memory in disease vector insects

Vector-borne diseases are among the most devastating problems in public health. An important part of the efforts for developing new control tools concerns understanding the biology of vector insects and its impact on parasite transmission. The study of activity rhythms, sensory ecology, mating systems,  behavioral physiology and chemical ecology has received much attention, providing novel insight to hinder the circulation of parasites in human populations.  However, despite their important  adaptive role, the learning abilities of disease vector insects remain poorly studied. Furthermore, the impact of individual experience on the transmission of pathogens is mainly ignored. The IRBI has advanced this area of knowledge in the last decade and the wealth of information gathered allows further exploration of this frontier of science. The objective of our project is to initiate the characterisation of the molecular bases of cognitive abilities in human disease vectors. We propose evaluating changes in gene expression driven by learning and memory in the kissing-bug Rhodnius prolixus, vector of Chagas disease. Our study will be part of a multidisciplinary consortium that will explore the cognitive abilities of disease vectors and their epidemiological impact, through an integrative approach combining bioinformatics, laboratory, semi-field and field work. Applying quantitative transcriptomic analyses, we will characterise learning-induced gene expression changes in the brains of these vector bugs. The main goal of our Le Studium project is to identify a set of genes whose altered expression underlies memory formation in the brain of a vector insect. Our ultimate goal is to determine whether vector cognitive abilities may be exploited for control purposes.

Events organised by this fellow

Biologie d’un envahisseur : le moustique tigre Aedes albopictus
On a neglected insect-borne disease, its vectors and the rational control of parasite transmission
New avenues for the behavioral manipulation of disease vectors

Articles Published

  • Behavior, sensory reception and genomics in a vector insect

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  • Species-specific patterns of shelter exploitation in Chagas disease vectors of the genus Rhodnius

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  • Attraction of Rhodnius prolixus males to a synthetic female-pheromone blend

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  • Co-existing locomotory activity and gene expression profiles in a kissing-bug vector of Chagas disease

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  • Activity and shelter-related behavior in Rhodnius prolixus: The role of host odours

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  • Molecular bases of sensory processes in kissing bugs, vectors of Chagas disease

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  • Transcriptomics supports local sensory regulation in the antenna of the kissing bug

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