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Researchers
  • Prof.  Alon Warburg
Prof Alon Warburg
 
Lab Members 
Dr. Ibrahim Abbasi – Research associate.
Molecular diagnostics of Leishmania and bloodmeal identification.
 
Roy Faiman - PhD student
Control of Phlebotomine sand flies.
 
Alex Shtern - MSc student
Insectary Assistant.
 
Ruben Cunio
Laboratory and field assistant.
 
 
Ongoing Research  
Cutaneous leishmaniasis is emerging as a significant public health problem in Northern Israel, the Judean desert and parts of the West Bank. Studies we have conducted over the last few years have demonstrated that in the Galilee and the Judean desert cutaneous leishmaniasis is caused by Leishmania tropica and transmitted by the sand flies Phlebotomus sergenti and Ph. arabicus. Rock hyraxes were incriminated as reservoir hosts. These sand flies were shown to feed upon hyraxes and trasnsmit L. tropica by bite. In 2007 we became aware of a new focus of cutaneous leishmaniasis south of Beit Shean in the northern part of the Jordan Valley. Preliminary results of studies conducted near Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu show that the causative parasite in the focus is L. major , a species normally associated with desert rodents such as Psammomys obesus. The apparent reservoir host in Sde Eliyahu are voles (Microtus guentheri) that are exceptionally abundant in the agricultural fields near the kibbutz. A comprehensive study of the emerging focus including a large-scale control study using vertical mesh barriers, is planned for 2009-2014.
 
Soldiers of the US army stationed in Iraq and other endemic countries are experiencing significant morbidity brought on by sand fly bites and the Leishmania they transmit. Sand flies are notoriously difficult to control since their immature stages do not require water and develop in many different habitats. Recently we embarked on a major project funded by the US Army (Deployed War Fighter Protection program) aiming to develop efficacious methods, environmentally-sound methods for controlling phlebotomine sand flies in military installations and civilian settlements. Initial results indicate that vertical mesh barriers can block sand flies approaching inhabited areas and that Pralethrine diffusers are efficacious at reducing the numbers of sand flies inside rooms and tents.
 
Malaria parasites undergo several developmental stages in their mosquito vectors before maturing into oocysts that produce sporozoites. Although it is the longest stage, the oocyst is the least studied in the entire lifecycle of Plasmodium. Oocysts apparently evade immune-recognition by coating themselves with proteinaceous capsules. We are currently investigating the roles of parasite and mosquito proteins in the formation of oocyst capsules.
 
 
Experience 
1986-1988 
Post doctoral Fellow - Yale University, Laboratory of Epidemiology and Public Health, New Haven, USA.
 
1988-1989 
World Health Organization's visiting expert on leishmaniasis. Centro Internacional de Investigaciones Medicas (CIDEIM), Cali, Colombia.
 
1989-1990 
Wellcome Trust Research Fellow. Department of Medical Parasitology, The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
 
1990-1993 
Visiting Associate. Laboratory of Malaria Research, NIAID/NIH, Bethesda, USA.
 
1994-2004 
Senior lecturer, Department of Parasitology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
 
2004-2009 
Associate Professor, Department of Parasitology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
 
 
Education  
1975-1978 
B.Sc., Biology – Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
 
1979-1982 
M.Sc., Vector Biology - Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
 
1984-1986 
Ph.D., Vector Biology - Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
 
 
Collaborations  
1998-2006 
Z. Abdeen, Al-Quds University , Palestinian authority – "Leishmaniasis in Israel and the West Bank".
 
1998-2009 
G. Schonian, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany – "Leishmaniasis in Israel and the West Bank".
 
2002-2009 
Dr Laor Orshan, Head of Entomology Laboratory, Israeli Ministry of Health "Sand fly and Mosquito control "
 
2008-2009 
J. Beier, University of Miami, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health USA. -"Control of Mosquitoes in urban environments".
 
2008-2009 
Gad Baneth, The Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - “Emergence of Zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis in Israel - Is the rock hyrax the main reservoir host of Leishmania tropica?”
 
2008-2009 
Richard Poche and Barry Miller, Genesis Labs, Wellington Colorado USA. "Sand Fly Control in rodent burrows and on cattle"
 
2008-2009 
Philipp Kirsch, APTIV BioActivity Company , Oregon USA. Development of Sand Fly Control methods
 
 
Selected Research Support 
1998-2003 
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) German-Palestinian-Israeli trilateral project on leishmaniasis in Israel and the West Bank.
 
1998-2007 
Center for Emerging Diseases – Malaria parasites and their mosquito vectors.
 
2001-2004 
Israel Science Foundation. Sand fly saliva and leishmaniasis. .
 
2005-2007 
NIAID/NIH/USA/NIH/USA.Vector-Borne Disease control in urban environments.
 
2005-2009 
US Army, Deployed WarFighter Protection Program (DWFP)Control of phlebotomine sand flies in military installations.
 
2007-2009 
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) German-Palestinian-Israeli trilateral project on Emergence of Leishmania tropica foci  in Israel and the West Bank.
 
2008-2009 
Israel Science Foundation. Emergence of Zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis in Israel - Is the rock hyrax the main reservoir host of Leishmania tropica?
 
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