STEM Shoutout: Dr. Helen Wearing

Professor seeks connection between temperature and mosquito-borne virus transmission


UNM Biology and Mathematics Professor Helen Wearing is conducting research pertaining to the effects temperature has on the spread of two mosquito-borne viruses that affect humans – Zika and Chikungunya.

The grant, in conjunction with Dr. Rebecca Christofferson from Louisiana State University, is for $116,394 and awarded by LSU.

“Specifically, we are measuring how temperature affects mosquito traits, such as the time it takes a mosquito to develop from egg to adult and adult survivorship, as well as the mosquito’s ability to transmit the virus following exposure to an infectious blood-meal,” Wearing said. “We will integrate these data into models of mosquito-borne virus transmission to examine how the temperature profiles of cities across different climate regions affect the potential for disease outbreaks, as well as the duration and intensity of such outbreaks.”