Last weekend LSTM’s Dr Mark Paine gave at a talk at the Bluedot festival, an award-winning festival of discovery at the grounds of a deep space observatory. Set against a backdrop of the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank, Bluedot combined music, science experiments, expert talks and art.
Dr Paine’s talk, entitled ‘Malaria; of Man and Mosquito’ was given to a full audience at the Star Pavilion and focused on the reasons why mosquitoes are the most dangerous animals on Earth.
Dr Paine commented “Speaking at this year’s Bluedot festival was a fantastic experience, the audience participation with the science exhibits and general atmosphere was amazing. I've never had so many questions thrown at me. As a scientist that was extremely motivating and reflects a strong public appetite for science.” His talk was about how mosquitoes infect millions of people throughout the world with lethal diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and Zika virus.
Dr Paine introduced the audience to new tools being developed to tackle these tropical diseases and described how important insecticides are for disease control, particularly when used to impregnate bed nets, which have helped halve the number of malaria cases in Africa this century. However, these gains in the control of malaria and other diseases are currently under threat since mosquitoes are becoming extremely resistant to insecticides. He described his work which focuses on understanding how insects become resistant to insecticides and developing simple tools that can be used to fight resistance in countries where these diseases are prevalent.
Dr Paine continued “I would like to extend my thanks to the festival organisers for the opportunity to present a malaria talk at the festival. The festival concept and brilliant line-up was fantastic. Well worth its title of “The best geeky festival ever”.