Investigating Vector-Borne Diseases and Pathogen Transmission Biology With Transcriptomics

Dr. Rhoel Dinglasan’s research focuses on the transmission biology of malaria and arboviruses and host-pathogen interactions, as well as the development of novel disease interventions. Genevia Technologies is assisting his group with multi-omic analyses.

An Aedes mosquito feeding on a Dinglasan lab member.


Dr. Rhoel Dinglasan is a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine, and the director of a regional center of excellence for vector-borne diseases for the Southeastern United States. One year ago, his lab began utilizing Genevia’s Virtual Bioinformatics Core service for their data analysis needs.

– My research focus is primarily on vector-borne diseases, malaria, and arboviruses like Dengue and Zika. We have been expanding our work to include tick-borne diseases. We have two projects with Genevia: one on mosquitoes and one on ticks, he says.

– The tick project involves standard transcriptomic profiling of tick cells after interaction with the Anaplasma bacteria. The mosquito project is a metatranscriptomic analysis, aiming to identify insect-specific viruses using RNA-Seq data.

Dr. Dinglasan sought external support for bioinformatics when, within a short period, multiple senior scientists from his group left to lead their own research programs. Happy for his colleagues yet faced with unanalyzed data and limited time for recruiting a new bioinformatician, he turned to Genevia.

– I know many bioinformaticians and computational biologists, but their time is limited. I sought a company that could assist. After consulting colleagues in Northern Europe and a Google search to understand Genevia’s capabilities, I reached out to them, he recalls.

Subscription to Bioinformatics Expertise

Genevia’s Virtual Bioinformatics Core proved to be an ideal solution for Dr. Dinglasan’s group. He praises the service’s collaborative nature and the ongoing dialogue between the service provider and the client. Meetings are flexibly scheduled despite time differences between his lab in Florida and Genevia’s office in Finland. Apart from a quickly resolved minor hiccup in data transfer, his experience with Genevia’s services has been smooth.

Dr. Dinglasan notes that while other groups were curious about his bioinformatics solution, they had doubts about the collaborative aspect and the level of involvement a researcher would have. He believes that his testimonial, coupled with upcoming scientific publications, will serve as the best evidence of the efficacy of this collaboration. He also mentions that while many labs struggle to hire postdocs in the U.S. and elsewhere, an external service provider like Genevia can be a quicker and more cost-effective option.

– I appreciate the subscription model and the ability to buy expert effort. We’ve been working with Scientific Project Manager Dr. Henry Barton for both projects. Our interactions with him are akin to my regular lab meetings, fostering open discussions and intellectual exchange. I trust the data because I’m allowed to question it. It’s not just somebody doing what I ask them to do and then emailing me a report – it’s collaborative, he describes.

– Genevia also offers training for our younger students, providing the data analysis code. We’re always open to improving our approach with new techniques and insights, and learning about the analysis and seeing the code is helpful. Genevia quickly incorporated our published analytical workflow and also improved on it.

After a one-month break from Genevia’s services to work on manuscripts, the Dinglasan group is ready to assemble a manuscript for the tick project, while the mosquito project requires a few more touches. Both will be submitted for review in early 2024. Dr. Dinglasan, pleased with the collaboration, foresees future RNA-Seq projects with Genevia.

– Genevia’s quick uptake of effort has maintained momentum in our projects, offering flexibility and expert input. Their support has been instrumental in keeping my program competitive, and I am deeply grateful for their assistance and wish them continued success.

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