Using molecular research to help fight disease

Insect researcher Martin Hall studies the insects that cause the disease myiasis. 

Warning: This video contains images that some viewers may find upsetting.

Find out from this video how molecular techniques are helping us understand the spread of this disease and how they can help with control programmes in the future.

‘Knowing where the flies have travelled from helps us understand how they are introduced to different places. This will help us prevent the spread of flies, and disease in the future,’ says Martin Hall.

Martin Hall’s research

Martin studies blowflies and fleshflies. He works in two main areas of applied entomology - veterinary and forensic entomology.

At first glance these might seem unrelated, but many species of fly that feed on dead tissues, or carrion, can also cause disease when their larvae invade living animals.

Combating disease

Martin’s veterinary work explores the geographical diversity of myiasis-causing flies. This will help him to discover how the flies can be monitored and controlled and to explain the origins of myiasis as a disease.

Crime scene investigations

Martin’s forensic work focuses on the development of carrion flies, particularly at low temperatures, and understanding more about neglected fly species. This will allow scientists to evaluate insect evidence at crime scenes more accurately and apply the techniques to more cases.