By Ana Kormos, Program Manager, University of California Malaria Initiative (UCMI)

The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), whose mission is to reduce the worldwide burden of tropical infectious diseases, held its annual meeting in Seattle, from October 30 to November 3. The five-day educational conference was an opportunity for researchers, health practitioners and other relevant participants from the field to exchange knowledge on recent advances in tropical medicine, hygiene, and global health.

Tropical diseases such as malaria continue to be a public health challenge. Malaria is estimated to cause the death of a child almost every minute, despite ongoing efforts to reduce its burden. At the University of California Malaria Initiative (UCMI), we are exploring novel tools such as the use of genetic technologies to modify mosquito populations and contribute to malaria elimination. In partnership with the national Ministry of Health, we have been working in the Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe (STP), to collect and study the biology and ecology of malaria-carrying mosquitoes and develop genetically modified mosquitoes that are unable to transmit the malaria parasite.

UCMI's field team releases wild typed marked mosquitoes as part of Mark, Release, Recapture Studies completed this year. Photograph: UCMI