York Biotech Campus has announced that the University of York has taken space onsite to conduct research that aims to control mosquito-borne disease.

The University of York has taken 2,750 sq ft of space for the research project, which includes two controlled-environment rooms and ancillary space.

Vector-borne disease – diseases that are transmitted by insects such as mosquitos and ticks – represent 17%* of all infectious diseases worldwide, and very few have effective vaccines. To provide new methods for controlling mosquito-borne diseases, University of York will be conducting research into reducing the size of the mosquito population that transmits them, and also ways to make mosquitoes less able to transmit disease.

The announcement signifies a major collaboration between the University of York and York Biotech Campus, two leading research institutions within the region. The campus worked closely with University of York to modify the laboratories to the requirements necessary for the studies to take place.

Luke Alphey, Professor of Genetics at University of York, will be leading the project and moved onto site this month. There will be between 15 – 20 people working on the project, based either at York Biotech Campus or the University.

There are plans to recruit a further 12 people over the next six months, with roles available for everyone from new graduates to senior postdocs with a focus on insects, molecular biology and cell culture.

On the project, Luke, who has more than 20 years’ experience in insect research, commented: “The research we will deliver is vital for reducing the risk of infection from mosquitos, and we’re so pleased to be based at the campus to facilitate this. The university has limited space for our type of research, so to complete the work we needed to look beyond it, and York Biotech Campus was able to provide us with the specialist facilities we required.

“We’re also going to be based very closely to other leading organisations in our field, such as Fera Science, who are also heavily involved in insect work, so we’re looking forward to seeing how we can collaborate and share knowledge with them.”

Liz Cashon, Innovation Campus Manager at York Biotech Campus, added: “York Biotech Campus has a long history and significant experience in insect work. We’re home to the National Bee Unit, and earlier this year Fera Science launched a UK ‘first of its kind’ insect research laboratory. We’re excited to be expanding this expertise further with the arrival of University of York and its innovative mosquito project.

“We’re extremely proud to be supporting University of York as a significant, local research body, facilitating growth in the bioscience sector in the region and contributing further to the bioeconomy. Their presence on site truly emphasises and positions the campus as a leading facility for innovation and success in Yorkshire.”