Researchers

No one is immune to the effects of the world’s most pressing medical challenges. And none of these challenges are immune to the brilliance and dedication of IMRIC’s researchers. Get to know them a little better by checking out their bios.

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Prof. Alon Warburg

As a child I loved animals and was especially fascinated by insects. So when I reached university, I decided to study entomology. Today I devote my time to studying the ecology of small blood-sucking sand flies that transmit leishmaniasis. In Israel, most of our leishmaniasis is cutaneous leishmaniasis, which is not usually life-threatening. However, in Ethiopia where we have been working since 2009, visceral leishmaniasis affects some 5,000 persons every year and many of those affected, die as a result. We are performing ecological and epidemiological studies designed to determine the most feasible approaches for curtailing transmission of visceral leishmaniasis in the rural East African setting.

As well as our work in Africa, we have similar problems that my team is dealing with in the Middle East. Leishmaniasis is emerging as a significant public health problem in Northern Israel, the Judean desert and parts of the West Bank. In fact US Army soldiers stationed in Iraq and other endemic countries are experiencing increased morbidity brought on by leishmaniasis. To this end we have conducted research at our IMRIC labs that show leishmaniasis in caused by leishmania tropica, transmitted by sand flies found in the Galilee and the Judean deserts. Due to these findings we have embarked on a major project funded by the U.S. Army to develop effective and environmentally-sound methods for controlling sand flies in military installations and civilian settlements. Our initial results proved efficacious in reducing the numbers of sand flies inside rooms and tents.