As a child growing up in New York City I spent a lot of time poring through my uncle’s collection of National Geographic magazine and visiting the American Museum of Natural History. I was especially fascinated by the museum’s insect collection; by the seemingly limitless variety of shapes and colors of these small creatures. I thought how great it would be to travel to remote places and study insects. I pursued studies leading to a degree in Entomology with a focus in insect genetics. I also developed an interest in parasitology along the way which led me to the field of medical entomology. Insects transmit some of the most dangerous diseases that inflict man, especially in underdeveloped tropical countries. Today I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to pursue all of these interests as the Head of the Vector Genetics Lab at UC Davis. I work with a team of exceptionally bright people devoted to using modern molecular genetics and genomics to expand our understanding of the relationships between insects and the pathogens they transmit to people, with the ultimate goal of developing new methods to control these deadly diseases. Our current work is focused on malaria, the most deadly and widespread mosquito transmitted disease of all. We have had the opportunity to conduct field research throughout Africa, including Mali, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Tanzania, Kenya and the beautiful Comoros Islands located near Madagascar. Just last year we initiated a new program focused on malaria in the Amazon Basin of Brazil. I have a great job!