Modelling transgenic mosquitoes
Malaria is one of the major global killers. Modern attempts at improving
control centre around the use of transgenic mosquitoes to interrupt the
cycle of infection, introducing mosquitoes that have been engineered to
be less transmissive of the malarial parasites into wild populations.
For such approaches to be effective, the new mosquitoes must breed
sufficiently to dilute the (human) reservoir of infection, but without
indefinitely changing the host population’s gene pool.
Complex networks have long been used to epidemiological research. In
this project we looked to deploy complex adaptive coupled networks to
model malarial infection and the propagation of transgenic
characteristics within populations with complex structure. The use of
networks allows researchers to address the behaviour of diseases in
inhomogeneous media, which can challenge traditional approaches. An
example of this is the use of social networks in which the probabilities
with which individuals come into contact are highly irregular.
This work was hosted by a $20,000 in-kind grant from Microsoft Azure.