The Gnatwork

The Gnatwork brings together workers on blackflies (Simuliidae), sandflies (Psychodidae) and biting midges (Ceratopogonidae) from around the world to address technical issues that arise when working on small biting flies.

    The Problem

    Although the lifecycle, ecology and pathogens transmitted by biting midges, blackflies and sandflies are highly divergent, blackflies, sandflies and biting midges share the similarity of extremely small adult body size. This makes it difficult to carry out research on almost every aspect of biology and ecology within these groups. This ranges from the production of laboratory colonies, to studies of their behaviour in the field. The amount of funding available to study these flies also changes over time making it difficult to retain expertise, particularly in countries where medical and veterinary priorities change rapidly.

    By creating a network of researchers we can make significant progress in transferring techniques across all three vector groups, develop new ones and build a stronger research base.

    The Gnatwork Objectives

    1. To create and maintain a community of blackfly, sandfly and biting midge researchers, based on shared technical difficulties.
    2. To carry out annual meetings that promote the development of transferable skills for early-career researchers.
    3. To fund studies within the community that will validate techniques and generate data to underpin future applications.

    The Gnatwork is co-led by Director Dr Simon Carpenter (The Pirbright Institute) and Co-Director Professor Mary Cameron (The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)