Vector Biology

Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae

Credit: NIAID

NIAID conducts and supports research to better understand vector biology and behavior and to develop products that can help prevent the spread of vector-borne infectious diseases. NIAID supports research on a wide range of vectors, including mollusks (certain fresh-water snails) and blood-feeding arthropods, such as mosquitoes, ticks, mites, triatomine bugs, and certain flies (including sand flies and tsetse flies).

Vector Biology Program

The NIAID vector biology program supports basic, translational, and clinical research, with the goal of developing products to prevent disease transmission. Basic research activities provide a better understanding of the relationship between the vector and the pathogen and the vector and the vertebrate host, as well as the interaction of the vector with its environment. For example, NIAID is funding an integrative research project to better understand how ticks recognize and suppress infectious disease pathogens and help identify targets for future prevention and treatment options for tickborne diseases. Read more information on the tick immunity project.

NIAID is also funding translational research to support projects to develop novel products and approaches that reduce transmission of vector-borne pathogens to humans. Clinical research helps assess the public health impact of vector control interventions.

Research Efforts

NIAID supports and conducts a wide range of vector-related research.

Vector-Host Interactions Research Effort supports activities to better understand the process of transmission of pathogens via arthropod vectors. As part of this effort, NIAID brings together a multidisciplinary group of investigators from the fields of vector biology, parasite immunology, and human immunology to dissect the complex process of pathogen transmission at the intersection of the human host, the arthropod vector, and the pathogen.

Monitoring Windborne Migration of Disease Vectors, Pathogens, and Pests in Africa to Improve Public Health and Food Securityis committed to establishing a pan-African network of aerial sampling stations to monitor windborne movement of insect disease vectors, disease agents, agriculture pests and their enemies, and keystone species affecting ecosystem stability. 

Malaria Research Program seeks fundamental knowledge about the interactions of malaria parasites with the human host and the mosquito vectors that transmit them and to apply this knowledge to prevent disease, enhance health, and improve the quality of life in malaria endemic areas. 


NIAID is always accepting researcher-initiated applications to Parent Funding Opportunities that can be submitted three times per year (see NIH due dates).

NIAID also provides focused funding opportunities specific to vector biology:

Connect with NIAID program officers about potential research projects and funding for vector biology research.

See a full list of vector biology related Funding Opportunities

Connect With Other Researchers

Researchers at NIAID
Much of the vector biology research ongoing at NIAID takes place in these laboratories:

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Resources for Researchers

NIAID offers resources for researchers to advance basic, preclinical, and clinical research. These include reagents and organisms offered through repositories, such as the BEI resources repository, and genomics, population biology, and bioinformatics databases. NIAID also provides other services designed to facilitate product development and clinical evaluation.

See all vector biology resources for researchers


NIAID regularly hosts meetings on a range of topics, including those related to vector-host interactions. Past meeting summaries can be found on Vector-Host Interactions.

Past NIAID Meetings

  • Vector Control Product Development Pathway: Phase-Dependent Evidence Gathering, June 24-25, 2019: The purpose of this meeting was to bring together experts in vector control product development to discuss the data requirements along the translational path for laboratory/pre-field (Phase I), semi-field and small-scale (Phase II), and field/large-scale (Phase III) trials.
  • A Primer For The Design And Conduct Of Clinical Trials For Vector Interventions, May 7-8, 2018: The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the planning of clinical trials for a variety of vector interventions, emphasizing the importance of multidisciplinary collaborations, site selection, trial design (statistical and regulatory considerations), and bioethics/community engagement to generate evidence that decision makers can use.

For more information on previous and upcoming workshops related to vector biology, please email Dr. Adriana Costero-Saint Denis.

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