Research by physiology & biophysics professor Todd Holmes could one day be applied to controlling harmful insects – such as mosquitoes – with light as an environmentally friendly alternative to toxic pesticides. UCI

Todd Holmes receives UCI’s first Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award from the NIH

Physiology & biophysics professor Todd Holmes has received a five-year, $2.1 million Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to study how insects process short-wavelength light in the ultraviolet-through-blue spectral range. This work builds on research from the Holmes lab published over the past few years in Science, Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Light is the primary regulator of circadian rhythms and evokes a wide range of behaviors specific to the time of day. The Holmes lab studies the physiology of short-wavelength-light responses in insects with the goal of controlling harmful ones – such as mosquitoes – with light as an environmentally friendly alternative to toxic pesticides. Introduced in late 2016, the MIRA is a prestigious National Institutes of Health funding program designed to provide the country’s most highly talented and promising researchers with greater stability and flexibility to enhance their scientific productivity and the chances for important breakthroughs. This is the first MIRA grant awarded to a UCI investigator. “Holmes received this based on his long-term track record of discovery and continuous funding for his research,” said Distinguished Professor Michael D. Cahalan, chair of UCI’s Department of Physiology & Biophysics. “The MIRA grant acknowledges Holmes’ major contributions in his field.”

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