Nora Besansky

Nora Besansky

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O'Hara Professor of Biological Sciences

Office: 317 Galvin Life Science Center
Phone: 574-631-9321

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Areas of Expertise

Anopheles mosquitoes, mosquito genome, malaria vectors, epidemiology and population biology, genetics and genomics, entomology and vector-borne diseases

Ongoing research in Besansky’s laboratory centers on the evolutionary, ecological and functional genomics of Anopheles mosquitoes that transmit malaria. In particular, she studies those species responsible for the majority of malaria cases and deaths on the African continent. In 2014, Besansky led an international research team of scientists in sequencing the genomes of 16 Anopheles mosquito species from around the world. In 2016, she led a team of researchers that sequenced the Y chromosome in malaria-carrying Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes for the first time. Besansky previously worked as a staff scientist in the Division of Parasitic Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before joining the Notre Dame Department of Biological Sciences in 1997. She is a member of the Eck Institute for Global Health at Notre Dame. She earned a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1990, an M.S. and M.Phil. from Yale in 1987 and a B.S. from Oberlin College in 1982.


With mosquito Y chromosome sequencing, researchers lay groundwork for advanced disease control
Notre Dame biologist Nora Besansky leads international consortium in sequencing the genomes of malaria-carrying mosquitoes
New study examines immunity in emerging species of a major mosquito carrier of malaria
Notre Dame VectorBase project offers genomic resources
Eck Institute researchers have strong presence in prestigious journal Science
Notre Dame researchers play key role in important new malaria studies
Notre Dame research awards exceed $100 million
Four faculty members named AAAS fellows


NPR — Mosquitoes. What Are They Good For?
The Economist — Plugging away
Nature World News — Meant for Malaria: Why Some Mosquitoes Carry it Better
The Scientist — Mosquito Genomes Galore — Genomes of malaria-carrying mosquitoes sequenced
Tech Times — Why Some Mosquitoes Spread Malaria and Others Don’t
MSNBC — A malaria mosquito is quickly becoming two species
ScienceNOW — Mosquitoes: Love at First Buzz