|Dr. Gabriel Manrique
Investigador Independiente (CONICET), Profesor Asociado (FCEN-UBA)
In the laboratory we study different aspects of the Behavior, Sensory Physiology and Toxicology of triatomine insects, vectors of Chagas disease. On the one hand, we are interested in understanding how kissing bugs acquire and use information from the environment in different contexts, such as searching for food, sexual partners, and shelter, as well as during conspecific aggregation and defensive and alarm behavior. On the other hand, we propose to understand the cognitive abilities of these blood-sucking insects in these different contexts. Finally, we are interested in studying the interaction between the toxicological processes associated with the insecticidal action and the biological processes linked to the vector competence of triatomines. All these studies would allow obtaining knowledge that contributes to improving the control of these insects, the main way to reduce the incidence of the disease. In this framework, detailed knowledge of the relevant signals for communication, nature, origin, perception, behavioral action and context in which they act, would allow interfering with communication channels and/or manipulating the behavior of these vectors, establishing the bases for new control strategies and alternatives to the use of insecticides. In a complementary way, knowledge of the effects of insecticides and the action of repellents will allow a complete analysis of the impact of control actions on these pest insects.