Members of the Vector-borne Disease Research Group at Virginia Tech. Left to right, first row: Maria Belen Cassera, Carlyle Brewster, Zhijian Jake Tu, Jinsong Zhu. Left to right, second row: Troy Anderson, Igor Sharakhov, Kevin Myles, Jianyong Li. Left to right, third row: Michael Klemba, Zac Mackey, Pablo Sobrado, and Zach Adelman. Not pictured: Paul Carlier, Dana Hawley, Korine Kolivras, Sally Paulson.

In accordance with Virginia Tech’s strategic plan to become a preeminent center for excellence in vector-borne disease, the Fralin Life Science Institute assisted with the creation of the Vector-Borne Disease Research Group in 2005. Fralin funds were used to acquire the equipment and expertise needed to build a strong, cohesive research program.

Approximately a dozen faculty members from the departments of biochemistry, entomology, chemistry, biological sciences and geography are involved with the Vector-borne Disease Research Group at Virginia Tech. They and their students work to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms involved in the transmission and pathogenesis of vector-borne infectious organisms and to lead the search for novel approaches to disease mitigation. Much of this research takes places in Fralin Hall, where a full-scale insectary, complete with a warmed/humidified rearing room, dissection microscopes and other essential equipment is located. 

Undergraduate and graduate students are actively involved in the research group. For more information on how to become involved if you are a student, please visit ourstudent page.  We host a university-wide Vector-borne Disease Symposium, in which we invite students to give oral and poster presentations. We also participate in the Department of Entomology's Hokie BugFest each year.

Check out a video here about Dr. Adelman's mosquito genetics research here:

About Vector-borne disease

Vector-borne diseases are illnesses transmited via blood-sucking arthropods, namely mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, lice, and biting flies or mites. These disease are a tremendous public health burden worldwide. Mosquito-borne pathogens alone-- such as Malaria, West Nile, Dengue fever and yellow fever-- infect hundreds of millions of people per year, with more than a billion people at risk for these illnesses. The most common vector-borne diseases in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Health, are carried by mosquitoes and ticks and include Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, West Nile Virus, and Eastern equine encephalitis.


Vector-borne diseases we study

African sleeping sickness

Chagas Disease


Dengue Fever

La Crosse Encephalitis


Lyme Disease


West Nile Virus

Yellow Fever