University Scholar Series: Alberto Rascon
A Quest to Control the Female Aedes aegypti Mosquito Population
Like many thousands of species of mosquitoes, the female Aedes aegypti mosquito loves to feed on humans. However, what makes the female Aedes aegypti mosquito unique is that she is a carrier of the Yellow fever, Dengue fever, Chikungunya, and Zika viruses. These viruses can be spread to human hosts leading to fever, muscle and joint pain, headaches, and vomiting or more serious conditions. Unfortunately, there are no licensed vaccines in the United States to combat these viruses. The only method proven effective to control mosquito populations are pesticides; however, the mosquitoes are becoming resistant and the pesticides have unintended harmful effects on other pollinators. The Rascón’s lab goal is to determine a new vector control strategy by focusing on proteases (enzymes that break down proteins), specific only against mosquito biological process, thus protecting other insects or species from the quest to control the female Aedes aegypti population.
Alberto Rascón is associate professor in the Department of Chemistry. He earned a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Arizona on the expression and isolation of Aedes aegypti mosquito proteases. After his graduate studies, he joined Dr. James McKerrow’s lab at UCSF, an expert in parasitic protease biochemistry, working on proteases and enzymes in human parasitic worms, and proteases from human amoeba parasites. Dr. Rascón is a first generation Mexican American and in six and a half years at SJSU he has been heavily involved in underrepresented minority programs like the LSAMP, McNairs Scholars, NIH MARC, and RISE programs, eventually becoming a co-coordinator for the RISE program in 2016.
Date of Event
blood-borne pathogens, controlling mosquito population, protease inhibition
Entomology | Virus Diseases
Rascon, Alberto, "University Scholar Series: Alberto Rascon" (2020). University Scholar Series. 41.
1 streaming media file (59 min.) : digital, sound, color. Closed captioned for the hearing impaired.