MSU Entomologist Studies Insecticide at Molecular Level
Edward A. (“Ned”) Walker, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, is a medical entomologist who has dedicated his life to understanding and eradicating malaria and other mosquito-borne illnesses.
His groundbreaking research with insecticide-treated bed nets in western Kenya led to the use of these nets as a powerful control tool that thwarts mosquitoes that cause malaria, a devastating disease that kills about 3,000 children daily in Africa.
However, in the past decade, mosquitoes have shown growing resistance to the pyrethroid insecticides used to treat the nets. So, Walker and other researchers are investigating how the insecticide works at a molecular level, which could help stem mosquitoes’ resistance to the insecticide. Also, new research from Walker’s lab shows that, even with resistance, bed nets remain effective if they do not develop holes from wear and tear.
In further recognition of his work and expertise, Walker was recently selected to co-lead MSU’s new Center for Health Impacts of Agriculture with Felicia Wu, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
This first-of-its-kind center, which addresses the growing global effects of agriculture on human and animal health, links MSU’s renowned agricultural and food security research with its three colleges of medicine, as well as several other university units, including the College of Natural Science.
Issues that the center will address include the agricultural development and economic effects related to increased cases of malaria in Malawi, Africa; antimicrobial resistance in humans, animals and plants, and the implications on human health; and health risk assessment and nutrient regulation policies.
– Valerie Osowski, College of Natural Science