My research interests at UTMB focus on the interactions between arboviruses, the mosquito vector, and the vertebrate host. I study these interactions using alphaviruses, flaviviruses, and bunyaviruses in several mosquito species. One of my projects focuses on the molecular determinants of viral infection and dissemination within the mosquito. For this project, I utilize chimeric flavivirus infectious clones to examine the basis of viral dissemination of yellow fever virus in Ae. aegypti mosquitoes. By comparing two closely related viruses, yellow fever virus and the vaccine, we hope to determine the viral genes required for viruses to be transmitted by mosquitoes. This work is important in the development of vaccines which will be unable to be transmitted by mosquitoes. For another project, we have developed chimeric alphaviruses with segments from o'nyong-nyong and chikungunya viruses to study the viral molecular determinants involved in vector species specificity. We are also investigating the role of mosquito genes that are differentially expressed following exposure to an infectious bloodmeal using microarray technology. A new project focuses on the analysis of molecular changes which occur in Rift Valley Fever virus following replication of the virus in the mosquito or vertebrate host.