Alexander Franz

Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology

114 Aidl

(970) 491-8611

About Alexander

Molecular Vector Biology / Arbovirology The research work in my laboratory focuses on the molecular interactions of arboviruses such as dengue, Sindbis, and chikungunya viruses with the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Our goal is to gain a better understanding how the mosquito’s innate RNA interference (RNAi) pathway modulates arbovirus infections and how RNAi-arbovirus interactions can be exploited to interrupt the viral disease cycle in the insect. As an important tool for these studies we have established transgenic mosquito technology in our lab. We are characterizing the vector competence for arboviruses in transgenic mosquitoes whose RNAi pathway has been tissue-specifically impaired. Another project aims at generating transgenic Ae. aegypti that are refractory to dengue virus by triggering RNAi against the virus in relevant tissues.


MA, Christian-Albrechts Universitaet Kiel, Germany, 1992PhD, Christian-Albrechts Universitaet, Kiel, Germany, 1997


Olson, K.E. and Franz, A.W.E. (2009). Controlling dengue virus transmission in the field with genetically modified mosquitoes. In: J.M. Clark, J. Bloomquist, H. Kawada (eds.), ‘Advances in Human Vector Control’, Oxford University Press, USA, 123-141.Khoo, C.C.H., Sanchez-Vargas, I., Piper, J., Olson, K.E., Franz, A.W.E. (2010). The RNAi pathway affects midgut infection- and escape barriers for Sindbis virus in Aedes aegypti. BMC Microbiology, 10:130. Beaty, B., Bernhardt, S., Black, W., Blair, C., Eisen, L., Elizondo-Quiroga, D., Farfan-Ale, J., Lozano-Fuentes, S., Franz, A., Olson, K., and Sanchez-Vargas, I. (2010). Novel strategies to control Aedes aegypti and dengue. In: P.W. Atkinson (ed.), ‘Vector Biology, Ecology and Control’, Springer, NY, 99-112. Franz, A.W.E., Jasinskiene, N., Sanchez-Vargas, I., Isaacs, A.T., Smith, M.R., Khoo, C.C.H., Heersink, M.S., James, A.A., Olson, K.E. (2011). Comparison of transgene expression in Aedes aegypti generated by mariner Mos1 transposition and PhiC31 site-directed recombination. Insect Molecular Biology [doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2583.2011.01089].Franz, A.W.E., Sanchez-Vargas, I., Piper, J., Smith, M.R., Khoo, C.C.H., James, A.A. and Olson, K.E. (2009). Stability and loss of a virus resistance phenotype over time in transgenic mosquitoes harboring an antiviral effector gene. Insect Molecular Biology 18, 661-672.Sanchez-Vargas, I., Scott, J.C., Poole, B.K., Franz, A.W.E., Barbosa-Solomieu, V., Wilusz, J., Olson, K.E., and Blair, C.D. (2009). Dengue virus type 2 infections of Aedes aegypti are modulated by the mosquito’s RNA interference pathway. PLoS Pathogens 5, e1000299.Franz, A.W.E., Sanchez-Vargas, I., Adelman Z. N., Blair, C. D., Beaty, B.J., James, A.A., and Olson, K.E. (2006). Engineering RNAi-based transgenic resistance against dengue virus type 2 in Aedes aegypti. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. 103, 4198-4203.Sanchez-Vargas, I., Travanty, E.A., Keene, K.M., Franz, A.W.E., Beaty, B.J., Blair, C.D., and Olson, K.E. (2004). RNA silencing, arthropod-borne viruses, and mosquitoes. Virus Research 102, 65-74.Travanty, E.A., Adelman, Z.N., Franz, A.W.E., Keene, K.M., Beaty, B.J., Blair, C.D., and Olson, K.E. (2004). Using RNA interference to develop Dengue virus resistance in genetically modified Aedes aegypti. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 34, 607-613.