Tracking virus-carrying mosquitoes is no easy task, but a collaboration between engineers and microbiologists at CSU may revolutionize the process vital to protecting people from disease.

Rebekah Kading, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, teamed up with Chris Snow, associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, to “barcode” millions of individual insects by feeding their larvae harmless particles made entirely of DNA and proteins.

As the mosquitoes grow into adults, the DNA crystals remain intact in their guts; the code can be later read through laboratory techniques. Researchers can not only track where the mosquitoes ended up, but also where they started and how they moved.

The team has completed three pilot studies in the Fort Collins area, and the interdisciplinary research is ongoing.