The workforce has awarded $ 15 million from DARPA to develop a mosquito repellent primarily based on pores and skin microbiomes, in keeping with FIU Information
To support this project, Azitra will use its extensive scientific knowledge of the skin microbiome to develop and characterize different strains of bacteria. Ginkgo Bioworks will bring its foundries and its deep know-how in the field of bioengineering to provide the master technology. In the first research phase of the project, the companies will partner with leading mosquito researcher and neurogeneticist Matthew DeGennaro from the FIU’s Institute of Biomolecular Sciences, who brings expertise in molecular genetics and odor attraction profile of mosquitoes as well as mosquito repellants. Throughout the project, Latham will provide program management, system integration support and technical product development support.
“DEET has been the gold standard for mosquito repellent since the 1940s,” said DeGennaro, who is also the director of the FIU’s Tropical Genetics Laboratory. “In the last 80 years we have learned so much more about how mosquitoes find their hosts. Now is the time to use this knowledge to break the cycle of mosquito-borne diseases. I am very excited to be working with Ginkgo Bioworks, Azitra and LBG to develop and use this next generation repellent. “
Over the course of the program, Azitra will bring its extensive expertise to the formulation, packaging and manufacturing of microbiome products that can be safely integrated into the skin’s natural microbiome.
“We are very excited to be partnering with Ginkgo Bioworks, FIU and LBG on this visionary project to develop the skin microbiome to create a new class of living, long-lasting and safe mosquito repellants. Azitra and Ginkgo bring together the world’s best genetic engineering skills applied to the skin microbiome to make this vision a reality, ”said Travis Whitfill Azitras Co-Founder and General Manager, Advanced Technology. “We hope to address a huge global burden on healthcare while advancing the concept of using engineering microbes, which are part of our natural microbiome, to improve human health.”