|Dr. Gastón Mougabure Cueto
Investigador Principal (CONICET).
The objective of our research is to improve the control of triatomine insects, the vectors of Chagas disease. We approached this objective by studying 1) the triatomine-insecticide interaction and 2) the biological processes of triatomines linked to their vector competence. These approaches are linked to each other forming a research area where toxicology, physiology, and behavior are combined. We develop these studies through an experimental approach in the laboratory using tools and methodologies of toxicology, physiology, biochemistry, morphometry and behavior. In particular, we are interested in studying the possible effects of exogenous molecules with biological activity (for example, sublethal doses of insecticides, repellents, etc.) on processes related to vector competition of Triatoma infestans, such as feeding and excretion/defecation patterns, active dispersal, reproduction, detection of the host and conformation of morphological characters. We are also interested in studying the toxicological susceptibility of T. infestans to insecticides from different chemical families never before evaluated in triatomines and their possible use in chemical vector control. Other topics of academic and epidemiological interest are the studies, in T. infestans, of the functional morphology of the legs linked to walking locomotion, the relationship between locomotion and the defecation/excretion pattern, and the use of repellent as possible strategy that contribute to the control of this insect.