Christopher Vitek, Ph.D.

Christhopher Vitek, Ph.D.Christopher Vitek, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
SCSI 2.324
Office: (956) 665-2845
christopher.vitek@utrgv.edu

Courses

Aquatic Entomology (BIOL4419)
Medical Entomology (BIOL4319)
Disease Epidemiology (BIOL4317)
Graduate Seminar (BIOL 6101)
Biometry (BIOL6305)

Education

Ph.D., Biology, Clark University, Worcester, MA 01610, 2004
B.A., Biology (Mathematics minor), Drew University, Madison, NJ 37830, 1993.

Areas of Interest

Biology and ecology of mosquitoes, especially container breeding mosquitoes; arboviral transmission dynamics and factors that influence the probability of infection and transmission.

Research

This laboratory engages in ecological and medical entomology research. It has a range of ongoing projects, including field and laboratory based research. The lab focuses on mosquito biology. Mosquitoes are a useful organism to study due to its aquatic and terrestrial life stages. Research in our lab is not limited to these organisms or questions, however, and past students have studied mosquito repellants and conducted bloodiest studies of insects in the Rio Grande Valley. We collaborate with other laboratories to examine the phylogenetic relationship of some unique insects that are found only in Texas and the Rio Grande Valley. Other insect families and orders can be researched as well, and students have been involved in field research examining the use of other Dipterans in biomonitoring.

Laboratory based research includes the examination of environmental influences of insect behavior and biology, including oviposition behavior, hatching behavior, and larval development. The hatch behavior in mosquitoes (specifically container breeding mosquitoes) is a complex behavioral trait, with many factors influencing hatch rate and subsequent larval development. Organisms can utilize both environmental as well as maternal cues to predict future habitat risk, and utilize behavioral plasticity as a mechanism to cope with changing environments. Field work focuses of assessing and monitoring insect populations to identify seasonal and yearly trends in population abundance, emergence, and the potential for disease transmission by disease vectors. In addition, we examine species distribution and how these may influence disease transmission dynamics.

Recent Publications

Curriculum Vitae