I am a tropical medicine researcher working at the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at Yale School of Public Health. I was born and grew up in Istanbul, Turkey. After my high school education at Robert College in Istanbul, I moved to the USA and completed my undergraduate studies at Vassar College in Biology (BA in 1978) and my PhD at Columbia University in Biology (PhD in 1982). I was a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist in molecular parasitology (1982-1990) in Internal Medicine at Yale Medical School before joining the faculty as Assistant Professor (1990-1995). I subsequently moved to Yale School of Public Health and served as Associate (1995-2002) and Full Professor (2002-present). My major research areas are vector-borne disease biology and epidemiology. I am an elected fellow of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene since 2012, an elected fellow of the Entomological Society of America since 2015 and an elected member of Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering since 2019.

Research Interests

Aksoy's research is on African trypanosomiasis, which is a neglected zoonotic fatal disease of humans and livestock in Africa, caused by parasitic African trypanosomes that are transmitted to mammals through the bite of an infected tsetse fly. She is known for her interdisciplinary approaches to understanding critical determinants of disease transmission?ranging from research on tsetse and trypanosome biology; to population genetics of tsetse, symbionts, and trypanosomes; to disease epidemiology in Africa. Her studies have enabled the integration of leading-edge molecular and genomic techniques into tsetse research. She established the International Glossina Genome Initiative in 2004 that advanced molecular research in tsetse and ultimately led to whole-genome sequencing of six different tsetse species. She has made seminal contributions to the functional and evolutionary aspects of multipartite tsetse interactions with pathogenic trypanosomes and beneficial microbiota. Her classic molecular and biological studies provided information on tsetse physiology and tsetse's obligate symbiosis with microbes, and collectively identified multiple molecular targets to reduce tsetse populations. Her population genetics studies on tsetse and trypanosomes have elucidated vector dynamics and disease transmission epidemiology, and together provided the information needed for sustainable vector control strategies for disease elimination. She has pioneered an innovative control strategy that uses beneficial insect symbionts to render insects inhospitable for disease-causing pathogens, thereby reducing their disease transmission potential. Aksoy collaborates extensively with East African scientists to build regional research and control capacity for tsetse-transmitted diseases.

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Election Year


Primary Section

Section 61: Animal, Nutritional, and Applied Microbial Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 44: Microbial Biology