Dr. Matthew DeGennaro joined the Department of Biological Sciences at FIU in 2014 and is an Associate Professor. He became the Director of the Biomolecular Sciences Institute in 2023. Dr. DeGennaro seeks to build on the successes of the BSI to foster collaborations that lead to transformational discoveries and build our FIU biomedical research community to nurture the next generation of scientific leaders.
Dr. DeGennaro’s research has been published in high impact journals including Nature, Current Biology, PNAS, Developmental Cell, and Communications Biology. His publications have received more than 3000 citations. Dr. DeGennaro has been an investigator of the CDC sponsored, Southeastern Center of Excellence in Vector-borne Disease since its inception. In collaboration with stakeholders, he helped Miami-Dade County respond to the Zika epidemic. His laboratory continues to work to prevent vector-borne disease in our community.
The focus of Dr. DeGennaro’s research is to understand mosquito behavior to develop new approaches to stop the transmission of vector-borne disease such as dengue, Zika, and chikungunya. Dr. DeGennaro developed genome editing tools in Aedes aegypti for the comprehensive genetic analysis of mosquito behavior. Using this approach, Dr. DeGennaro has provided key insights including the detection of humans by mosquitoes, mechanism of mosquito repellency by DEET, how mosquitoes select oviposition sites, and the physiology of mosquito reproduction. His work has highlighted the role of acid volatiles associated with human odor in mosquito host detection and has led his laboratory to explore how these odors are made by human skin bacteria. Microbes also play an important role in mosquito oviposition site selection. Understanding the composition and odor profiles of the microbial communities associated with human skin and mosquito oviposition sites offers the promise to disrupt vector behavior to reduce disease risk.
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