Dr. Carlier is working to develop a new class of long-lasting, human-safe insecticides against the malaria mosquito.
Upon exposure to current insecticides, strains of resistant mosquitoes emerge. To reduce malaria transmission, new chemical control strategies are needed. Carlier and his collaborators are interested in targeting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, that is found in both humans and mosquitoes. On a microscopic level, the enzyme appears identical in each life form, but on an atomic level, the amino acid content of the human and mosquito enzymes is different. If these differences could be exploited, new human-safe insecticides could be developed. Working with biochemist Jianyong Li, who prepares the mosquito enzyme and various mutant versions, Carlier and his team design, synthesize and asssay new compounds to inhibit the enzyme.