West Nile virus and mosquito control experts available

August 31, 2012  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A team of Purdue University researchers was the first to map the structure of the West Nile Virus and a decade later continue to advance understanding of how it works and interacts with the human body. Purdue experts on the West Nile virus, public health and mosquito control are available to speak with the media.


Pamela M. Aaltonen, a professor of nursing, specializes in public health and can talk about transmission, prevention and treatment of West Nile virus. Her work focuses on local, state and federal response to public health issues including disaster mitigation and response. She chairs a local board of health, is a former president of the Indiana Public Health Association and she is active in the American Public Health Association, serving as the past chairperson of the council of state public health affiliates.

CONTACT: 765-494-4041, aaltonen@purdue.edu

Faculty website: http://www.nursing.purdue.edu/facstaff/?uid=aaltonen


Catherine Hill, an associate professor of medical entomology, vector biology and a public health Extension specialist, studies the biology of insects that cause human diseases. One focus of her research is on the biology of mosquitoes and ticks that impact human and animal health. She is coordinator of the Purdue Entomology Public Health Extension Program, which aims to reduce transmission of vector-borne diseases through education.

CONTACT: 765-496-6157, hillca@purdue.edu


Richard Kuhn, a professor and head of biological sciences, studies the replication of West Nile and dengue viruses and their interactions with human and mosquito hosts. Kuhn, along with Michael Rossmann, Purdue's Hanely Professor of Biological Sciences, first mapped the structure of the West Nile virus. Their collaborative research helps identify targets for future vaccines, antiviral drugs and treatments. Kuhn also is the Gerald and Edna Mann Director of the Bindley Bioscience Center.

CONTACT: 765-494-4407, kuhnr@purdue.edu

Related news releases:

Antibody locks up West Nile's infection mechanism: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/101102RossmannWestNile.html

New effort probes how two groups of viruses cause disease: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2009/091117KuhnViruses.html


David Sanders, an associate professor of biological sciences, studies mosquito-born viruses closely related to the West Nile virus. His research focuses on how viruses enter human cells. Sanders also can speak about the role of mosquitoes in the virus cycle and how they transmit the virus.

CONTACT: 765-494-6453, retrovir@purdue.edu

Faculty website: http://bilbo.bio.purdue.edu/~viruswww/Sanders_home/sanders_main.html


Ralph Williams, a retired Purdue professor of entomology, was co-founder of the Indiana Vector Control Association and specialized in integrated pest management strategies related to protecting livestock and poultry from diseases transmitted from insects, including West Nile virus.

CONTACT: 765-426-1717, rew@purdue.edu


Writers: Elizabeth K. Gardner, 765-494-2081, ekgardner@purdue.edu

Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Brian Wallheimer, 765-496-2050, bwallhei@purdue.edu

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