Entomology

scientists dissecting mosquitos

WRAIR’s team of entomologists support Force Readiness and global health by developing and testing products to reduce the risk of vector-borne diseases.

Mosquito- and sandfly-borne diseases, including malaria, leishmaniasis, dengue, and Zika virus, are the most pressing threats to the medical readiness of Soldiers. Entomology works to mitigate that threat by developing new means of bite protection and pest management in addition to supporting WRAIR's product development efforts by performing basic and applied research on the interactions between disease vectors and pathogens. 

With departments like the Insectary and Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit, Entomology plays a critical role in drug and vaccine development at WRAIR and with partners in academia, industry, and the federal government. Prospective partners are welcome to reach out through the WRAIR Public Affairs Office for more information or to schedule a visit.

Research Areas

Soldiers in the field
Bite Protection and Pest Management

WRAIR's Insectary investigates countermeasures like skin and spatial repellents as well as treated fabrics to protect Soldiers from bites.

volunteers participating in CHMI
Controlled Human Malaria Infection (CHMI) Model

WRAIR’s Insectary developed the world’s first CHMI model in 1985 where human subjects are exposed to a curable form of malaria to test new antimalarials and vaccines. WRAIR has performed over 100 challenges on over 2,200 volunteers over its 30-year history. 

WRBU logo
Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit (WRBU)

The Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit (WRBU) conducts laboratory and field research on taxonomy, systematics, and bionomics of biomedically important arthropods, in support of epidemiological studies and disease control strategies of importance to the Military. WRBU maintains the U.S. national mosquito and sand fly collections.

sand fly
Sand Fly Repository

WRAIR hosts and maintains the largest sand fly repository in the world, with about 15 colonies available to researchers through an NIH-funded repository.

buckets with reared mosquitos
Insectary

To support drug and vaccine efforts like the CHMI or the Zika vaccine, WRAIR's entomologists are capable of maintaining and breeding up to 10,000 Aedes and Anopheles mosquitoes per week.