Worldwide, infectious diseases are the most common cause of death. According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), around 14.9 million people died in 2001 as the result of infections, which corresponds to about 26% of all mortalities. In this context, more than half of the world's population is at risk from vector-borne diseases such as malaria, Dengue fever, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, and onchocerciasis. Arthropod vectors like mosquitoes, ticks, triatomine bugs, sandflies, blackflies and fleas transmit parasites, viruses, or bacteria between people or between animals and people. Vector-borne diseases account for 17% of the estimated global burden of all infectious diseases. Global trade, rapid international travel, and environmental changes (e.g. climate change, urbanization) are causing vectors and vector-borne diseases to spread beyond borders. To work on this and related topics, the graduate school conducts basic and applied research across different scientific disciplines.
The research topics will focus on four sections:
Diversity and ecological adaptations of Culicidae and their function as disease vectors (SGN/BiK-F)
Arbovirology and vector competence of mosquitoes (BNITM)
Micro and macro-parasite transmission between mammals and birds and their immunological costs of infection (IZW)
Relevance of parasites in freshwater ecosystems (IGB)