David Severson


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Professor of Biological Sciences

Office: 107C Galvin Life Science Center
Phone: 574-631-3826 (office)
574-631-4151 (lab)
Email: Severson.1@nd.edu

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Areas of Expertise

  • Mosquito genetics and genomics
  • Systems Biology
  • Quantitative Genetics
  • Comparative Genomics
  • Population Biology
  • Mosquito Innate Immunity

A member of Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Health, Severson is working toward an understanding of the molecular factors that influence the vectorial capacity of mosquitoes to transmit pathogens to humans. Most of his research involves the mosquito, Aedes aegypti , because it is the primary vector for the yellow fever and dengue fever viruses and also an excellent laboratory model for studying transmission of the avian malarial parasite, Plasmodium gallinaceum , as well as the lymphatic filarioid parasite, Brugia malayi. Dengue is a threat to more than 2.5 billion people, with an annual incidence estimated at 50-100 million and several hundred thousand cases of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever with roughly 24,000 cases per year. Nearly 500 million clinical cases of malaria caused by infection with Plasmodium parasites occur each year, resulting in ca. 3 million deaths, mainly among children in subSaharan Africa. Lymphatic filariasis is caused by filarioid nematodes and is the second leading cause of permanent and long-term disability worldwide, with 120 million people annually presenting clinical morbidity. No effective vaccine candidates are available or soon anticipated for preventing transmission of any of these diseases. Severson is using integrated quantitative and population genetic approaches to investigate molecular aspects of vector competence for these diseases that will rapidly transition information gained from laboratory studies into field studies. This includes DNA-based genetic marker development, an active role in the Aedes aegypti genome project, utilization of genomics tools such as microarrays, and comparative genomics among mosquito species. He has a long-standing program to investigate the population dynamics of Aedes aegypti in Trinidad and Tobago, and am planning for additional efforts in Haiti and Cuba.


Mosquitoes capable of carrying Zika virus found in Washington, D.C.

Notre Dame faculty share research discoveries on NPR’s ‘Science Friday’

Second largest research award at Notre Dame fights malaria and dengue fever

Eck Institute for Global Health joins AMPATH Consortium

New dual degree prepares physicians for global health careers

Eck Institute researchers have strong presence in prestigious journal Science

Katie Washington Valedictory Address

Katie Washington named 2010 valedictorian

Genes of mosquito responsible for spread of West Nile virus and lymphatic filariasis sequenced

Notre Dame biologist believes Florida dengue cases merit close attention

Severson receives NIH international research collaboration grant

Biologist David Severson helps map yellow fever/dengue mosquito genome


The New York Times — Team of Rival Scientists Comes Together to Fight Zika

CNN — How far north is the Zika-spreading mosquito?

Reuters — ’Zika mosquitoes’ habits may foil U.S. elimination efforts

Dengue fever outbreak