Our team of scientists evaluate mosquito control methods and partner with U.S. federal agencies and national and international universities and academic institutions

Science group

AMCD has a team of scientists who evaluate the efficacy of existing and new mosquito control methods that will allow us to be good environmental stewards and reduce our District’s operational costs all while promoting and protecting public health. Our goal is for AMCD to become a state, national, and global leader in mosquito control. We are equipped with three insectaries, four laboratories, two greenhouses, three screened enclosures, multiple larval pools, a wind tunnel, an olfactometer, and a laser laboratory to aid us in this endeavor.

AMCD partners with the United States Department of Agriculture, the Department of Defense, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Goods, the University of Florida, the University of Miami, the University of North Florida, and other academic institutions both nationally and internationally.

Research Areas

  • Behavioral ecology and management of mosquitoes
  • Evaluation of new control methods, tools, and equipment 
  • Evaluation of surveillance methods and tools for vector and nuisance mosquito populations
  • Insecticide resistance surveillance
  • Efficacy of larvicides and adulticides for mosquito control

Lab Facilities

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Applied Research Team

Dr. Rui De Xue 4

Dr. Rui-De Xue
Executive Director

Education:

Ph.D. Medical Entomology, Chinese Academy of Medical Science, Beijing, China

M.S. Medical Entomology, Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan, China 

B.S. Entomology, Shanxi University, Taiyuan, China 

B.S. Medicine, Shanxi Medical University 

Areas of Expertise:

Vector biology and behavioral ecology of mosquitoes, personal protection/repellent development and evaluation, operational control, and administration.

Research and Publications

xueamcd@gmail.com

(904) 484-7330

Dr. Whitney Qualls 1

Dr. Whitney A. Qualls
Scientific Manager/Entomologist

Education:

Ph.D. Medical Entomology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 

M.S. Medical Entomology, Auburn University 

B.A. Biology, University of Cumberlands

Areas of Expertise:

Vector biology, ecology, evaluation of repellents, pesticides, and new control methods, and administration.

Research and Publications

wqualls@amcdfl.org

(904) 484-7337

Dr. Steven Peper 1

Dr. Steve Peper
Molecular biologist

Education:

Ph.D. Environmental Toxicology, Texas Tech University

M.S. Wildlife and Fisheries Biology, Frostburg State University 

B.S. Ecology, Wildlife, and Fisheries, Brigham Young University – Idaho

Areas of Expertise:

Disease pathogen detection for wildlife and animal, the molecular identification of arboviruses, and public health ramifications of vector-borne diseases.

Research and Publications

speper@amcdfl.org

(904) 484-7336

Dr. Muhammad Farooq 2

Dr. Muhammad Farooq
Field Biologist

Education:

Ph.D. Agricultural Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, Canada 

M.Sc. Agricultural Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, Canada 

M. Eng. Agricultural Engineering, Asian Institute of Technology, Pakistan 

B. Sc. Agricultural Engineering, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan

Areas of Expertise: 

Evaluation of pesticides and technologies, droplet size spectrum analysis, calibration of a variety of pesticide application equipment, evaluation of repellents and repellent systems. 

Research and Publications

mfarooqamcd@gmail.com

(904) 484-7340

Dr. Vindhya Aryaprema 1

Dr. Vindhya Subhashinie Aryaprema
Biologist

Education:

Ph.D. Medical Entomology, University of Liverpool, UK

B.S., Zoology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Areas of Expertise:

Vector ecology and behavior, operational vector control, action thresholds and insecticide resistance.

varyapremaamcd@gmail.com

(904) 484-7335

Kai Blore 1

Mr. Kai Blore
Biotech/Ph.D. Student

Education

Masters of Public Health, University of Miami, Miami, FL

B.S. Biological Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 

Areas of Expertise: 

Experimental design, product efficacy evaluation, and insectary management.

Heather Ward 2 3

Ms. Heather Ward
Biological Technician

Education:

M.S. Microbiology, Colorado State University

B.S. Biology, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Areas of Expertise: 

Mosquito Identification, emergency mosquito management, insect collection, preservation, and identification, pathogenic microbiology, mosquito surveillance and control operations.

Steven Smoleroff 1

Mr. Steven Smoleroff
Biological technician

Education:

Masters of Public Health, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL 

B.S. Biology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

Area of expertise: 

Operational mosquito control, mosquito identification and mosquito surveillance

Morgan Duett 1

Mr. Morgan Duett
Surveillance Technician

Education:

St. Johns River State College (student)

High school diploma 

Areas of expertise:

Operational mosquito control, mosquito identification and mosquito surveillance.

Olivia Sypes 1

Ms. Olivia Sypes
Mosquito Control Technician

Education 

B.S. Biology, Georgia Southwestern University 

Areas of Expertise:

Mosquito trapping, mosquito identification, and application of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT).

Madeline Steck

Ms. Madeline Steck
Biological Technician

Education

MPH, Environmental Health, University of Florida

B.S. Microbiology and Cell Science University of Florida

Areas of expertise:

pathogen microbiology, spatiotemporal analysis and modeling, GIS

Lea Bangonan

Ms. Lea Bangonan
FT Grant Funded Biological Technician

Education

B.S. Environmental Health, Western Carolina University

Areas of expertise:

Mosquito trapping and mosquito surveillance

Adjunct Professors

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Dr. Gunter Muller
Adjunct Senior Vector Ecologist

Dr. Stephen Dobson

Dr. Stephen Dobson
Adjunct Senior Entomologist

Dr. Michael Turell

Dr. Michael Turell
Adjunct Senior Arbovirologist

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