Chemically sterilizing mosquitoes to prevent malaria transmission

Tapan Kanai | Jacob Marcus | Richard Baxter

Yale University

This project was funded on:
31 December 2013

Malaria is a parasitic disease spread by mosquitoes. Thus, controlling mosquitoes is the key to controlling malaria. Conventional approaches to vector-control rely on broad-spectrum insecticides, but they are losing their efficacy as mosquitoes develop resistance. This project aims to develop male-specific chemosterilants for the principal malaria mosquito in Sub-Saharan Africa, Anopheles gambiae. Our goal is to apply the “Sterile Insect Technique" (SIT) to A. gambiae by releasing sterilized males to compete with wild mosquitoes for mates, thereby reducing mosquito populations without the use of insecticides


Budget Overview

This work will be performed by a research chemist under a contracted
hourly rate. Working in partnership with other researchers, the funding goal will allow our chemist to scale-up our pilot synthesis to provide sufficient material for in vitro kinetic assays and to pursue crystallographic studies of the enzyme-inhibitor complex.

Meet the Researcher


Hi, my name is Tapan Kanai. I have a Masters Degree in Chemistry from
Utkal University in Bhubaneswar, India and ten years experience in asymmetric synthesis as a Research Scholar at the Department of Organic Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Science (I. I. Sc), Bangalore, India and in materials chemistry at the Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL). I am currently a Research Associate in the Department of Chemistry at Yale University.
Malaria is prevalent in Odisha, a state of India (see here) where I received my education, so I am very excited at the opportunity to use my expertise in developing new tools to control mosquitoes that transmit it.


Check out the press report about our work on
Read our recent publication in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (Open Access, embargoed until February 15, 2014): Le, B.V. et al. (2012) “Characterization of Anopheles gambiae transglutaminase 3 (AgTG3) and its native substrate Plugin.” J. Biol. Chem. 288, 4844-4853. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M112.435347, PMCID: PMC3576089
Read the original paper reporting AgTG3 and Plugin in PLoS Biology (Open Access): Rogers et al.(2009) "Transglutaminase-Mediated Semen Coagulation Controls Sperm Storage in the Malaria Mosquito." PLoS Biol 7, e1000272. DOI:10.1371/journal....journal.pbio.1000272

Project Backers

Sean Seaveragieseimperfection85Oscar Jasklowskishanefull9Tapan Kanaimarniwilliams50PhamCindy WuAcloweryGholapRichard BaxterkbphamKevinWu