Dawn Wesson    

Dawn Wesson, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Tropical Medicine
Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
JBJ Building, Room 509
1324 Tulane Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 988-2643
Fax: (504) 988-6686

Wesson Laboratory Website

Personal Statement:

My background in medical and molecular entomology and vector biology has led to my role as a principal investigator on many research projects on vector-borne diseases (particularly dengue, Chagas and West Nile virus), instructor of graduate courses on vector biology and ecology at the Department of Tropical Medicine at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, director of the training program in vector-borne diseases at Tulane, and director of Tulane's Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases Initiative. My research interests include the ecology of arbovirus transmission, host-pathogen co-evolution, development of novel vector control strategies and tools, and examining the effects of vector-borne pathogen infection on human pregnancy outcomes. I have mentored more than 120 graduate (MSPH and PhD) students and numerous post-doctoral researchers.

Research Interests:

Ecology of arbovirus transmission; host-pathogen coevolution; development of novel vector control strategies and tools; effect of arbovirus infection on human pregnancy outcome; medical entomology; novel vector control methods

Educational Background:

  • BA, North Central College, Naperville, IL, 1983
  • MS, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1985
  • PhD, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IL, 1991

Professional Achievements:

  • 1997-2001 American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, American Committee on Medical Entomology Council
  • 1999-2013 Board of Directors member, Louisiana Mosquito Control Association,
  • 2000-2002 Vice president and president, Louisiana Mosquito Control Association
  • 2000-2003 Vice chair and chair, Entomological Society of America, medical & veterinary entomology section secretary
  • 2000-2005 Member, Tropical Medicine and Parasitology Study Section, NIH
  • 2002-2006 Member, Louisiana Arbovirus Working Group, Arbovirus Surveillance Subcommittee
  • 2003 Woman of the Year, City Business New Orleans
  • 2005-2006 Member, Gulf War and Health: Infectious Disease Committee, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
  • 2007-2013 New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board
  • 2007-2013 St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Control Board of Directors, Advisor


Selected Publications:

Caillouet K, Michaels S, Xiong X, Foppa I, Wesson DM. 2008. Increase in West Nile neuroinvasive disease following hurricane Katrina. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 14: 804-807.

Caillouet K, Carlson J, Wesson D, Jordan F. 2008. Colonization of abandoned swimming pools by larval mosquitoes and their predators following Hurricane Katrina. J. Vector Ecol. 33: 166-172.

Ponnusamy L, Xu N, Nojima S, Wesson DM, Schal C, Apperson CS. 2008. Identification of bacteria and bacteria-associated chemical cues that mediate oviposition site preferences by Aedes aegypti. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105: 9262-9267.

Ocampo CB, González C, Morales CA, Perez M, Wesson D, Apperson CS. 2009. Evaluation of community based strategies for Aedes aegypti control inside houses. Biomedica 29: 282-297.

Byrd BD, Wesson DM, Harrison BA. 2009. Problems identifying the fourth instar larvae of Orthopodomyia signifera (Coquillett) and Orthopodomyia kummi Edwards (Diptera: Culicidae). Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 111(3): 752-754.

Ponnusamy L, Wesson DM, Arellano C, Schal C, Apperson CS. 2010. Species composition of bacterial communities influences attraction of mosquitoes to experimental plant infusions. Microb. Ecol. 59: 158–173.

Ponnusamy L, Xu N, Böröczky K, Wesson DM, Ayyash LA, Schal C, Apperson CS. 2010. Oviposition responses of the mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus to experimental plant infusions in laboratory bioassays. J Chem. Ecol. 36: 709-719. Epub 2009 Jul 30.

enteria BL, Eisele TP, Keating J, Carvajal D, Palacios D, James MA, Wesson DM. 2010. Antibody response against Anopheles albimanus (Diptera: Culicidae) salivary protein as a measure of mosquito bite exposure in Haiti. J. Med. Entomol. 47(6): 1156-1163.

ll IH, Giraldo-Calderón GI, Ocampo CD, Wesson DM, Pecor JE. 2011. First record of Culex (Anoedioporpa) restrictor from Colombia. J. Am. Mosq. Control Assoc. 27: 148.

Cesa K, C
aillouet KA, Dorn PL, Wesson DM. 2011. High Trypanosoma cruzi (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae) prevalence in Triatoma sanguisuga (Hemiptera: Redviidae) in Southeastern Louisiana. J. Med. Entomol. 48: 1091-1094.

y L, Böröczky K, Wesson DM, Schal C, Apperson CS. 2011. Bacteria stimulate hatching of yellow fever mosquito eggs. PLoS ONE 6(9): e24409. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024409.

Byrd BD, Gymburch EE, O'Meara GF, Wesson DM. 2011. Molecular identification of Aedes bahamensis (Diptera: Culicidae). Florida Entomol. 94: 1057-1059.

IM, Moore J, Caillouet KA, Wesson DM. 2011. Disproportionate mosquito feeding on aggregated hosts. J. Med. Entomol. 48(6): 1210-1213.

Ellis BR, Sang RC, Horne KM, Higgs S, Wesson DM. 2012. Yellow fever virus susceptibility of two mosquito vectors from Kenya, East Africa. Trans. Roy. Soc. Trop. Med. 106(6): 387-389.

Mendenhall IH, Bahl J, Blum MJ, Wesson DM. 2012.
Genetic structure of Culex erraticus populations across the Americas. J. Med. Entomol. 49(3): 522-534.

Rider MA, Byrd BD, Keating JA, Wesson DM, Caillouet KA. 2012 PCR detection of malaria parasites in desiccated Anopheles mosquitoes is uninhibited by storage time and temperature. Malaria J. 11:193. doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-193.

Mendenhall IH, Tello SA, Neira LA, Castillo LF, Ocampo CB, Wesson DM. 2012. Host preference of the arbovirus vector Culex erraticus in Sonso Lake, Cauca Valley Department, Colombia.
J. Med. Entomol. 49(5): 1092-1102.

Stell FM, Roe RM, Arellano C, Kennedy L, Thorton H, Saavedra-Rodriguez K, Wesson DM, Black IV WC, Apperson CS. 2012. Proof-of-concept for a novel insecticide bioassay based on sugar feeding by adult Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera: Culicidae). Med. Vet. Entomol. Oct 18. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2915.2012.01048.x.

Byrd BD, Harrison B, Zavortink T, Wesson DM. 2012. Sequence, secondary structure and phylogenetic analyses of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) in members of the North American Signifera Group of Orthopodomyia (Diptera: Culicidae). J. Med. Entomol.
49(6): 1189-97.

Godsey, MS., King, RJ., Burkhalter, K., Delorey, M., Colton, L., Charnetzky, D., Wesson, DM... & Guptill, SC. (2013). Ecology of potential West Nile virus vectors in Southeastern Louisiana: enzootic transmission in the relative absence of Culex quinquefasciatus. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, 88(5), 986-996.

Londono-Renteria, B., Cardenas, JC., Cardenas, LD., Christofferson, RC., Chisenhall, DM., Wesson, DM., ... & Mores, CN. (2013). Use of Anti-Aedes aegypti Salivary Extract Antibody Concentration to Correlate Risk of Vector Exposure and Dengue Transmission Risk in Colombia. PloS one, 8(12), e81211.

Manore, CA., Davis, JK., Christofferson, RC., Wesson, DM., Hyman, JM., & Mores, CN. (2014). Towards an early warning system for forecasting human West Nile virus incidence. PLoS currents, 6.

Sirois, PA., Pridjian, G., McRae, S., Hinckley, AF., Rasmussen, SA., Kissinger, P., ... & Wesson, DM. (2014). Developmental outcomes in young children born to mothers with west nile illness during pregnancy. Birth Defects Research Part A: Clinical and Molecular Teratology, 100(10), 792-796.

Moudy, RM., Michaels, S., Jameson, SB., Londono, B., Lopez, V., Caillouet, KA., ... & Wesson, DM. (2014). Factors associated with peridomestic Triatoma sanguisuga (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) presence in southeastern Louisiana. Journal of medical entomology, 51(5), 1043-1050.

Manore, CA., Hickmann, KS., Hyman, JM., Foppa, IM., Davis, JK., Wesson, DM., & Mores, CN. (2015). A network-patch methodology for adapting agent-based models for directly transmitted disease to mosquito-borne disease. Journal of biological dynamics, 9(1), 52-72.

Richardson, JB., Jameson, SB., Gloria-Soria, A., Wesson, DM., & Powell, J. (2015). Evidence of Limited Polyandry in a Natural Population of Aedes aegypti. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, 14-0718.

Herrera, CP., Licon, MH., Nation, CS., Jameson, SB., & Wesson, DM. (2015). Genotype diversity of Trypanosoma cruzi in small rodents and Triatoma sanguisuga from a rural area in New Orleans, Louisiana. Parasites & vectors, 8(1), 123.

Londono-Renteria, B., Patel, J., Vaughn, M., Funkhauser, S., Ponnusamy, L., Grippin, C., Wesson, DM... & Meshnick, S. R. (2015). Long-Lasting Permethrin-Impregnated Clothing Protects Against Mosquito Bites in Outdoor Workers. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, 15-0130.

Guagliardo, SA., Morrison, AC., Barboza, JL., Wesson, DM., Ponnusamy, L., Astete, H., ... & Kitron, U. (2015). Evidence for Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) Oviposition on Boats in the Peruvian Amazon. Journal of Medical Entomology, tjv048.

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