Current research projects

Insect Services is currently a project partner in one publicly funded research project.

  1. Project REPEL

Titel: A research infrastructure to identify novel repellents for human and veterinary use.

Sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the EU program EurostarsTM. Funding indicator: 01QE2154. Running time: 01.10.2021 to 31.03.2024.

Project partner: TropIQ Health Sciences, The Netherlands

Although global sales of insect repellents are growing at an annual rate of 5 percent, there are only a few active repellent ingredients on the market that in addition only have a limited duration of effectiveness.

The project aims to establish a cross-species test panel for contract research to identify novel insect and tick repellents. This panel is based on a cascade of bioassays in which substances are first screened in a high-throughput system on mosquitoes and active substances are then tested in a basic panel consisting of ticks, bed bugs, fleas and lice. The species are selected based on biological and economic aspects in order to cover a broad spectrum of organisms relevant to medicine and veterinary medicine.

Substances that prove to be effective are then tested in an extended panel with other tick and insect species.

The screening pipeline as a whole as well as individual bioassays will be evaluated in the course of the project. For this purpose, model repellent molecules are to be successfully identified using the biotest cascade. A small library of molecules, which also contains blinded positive controls, is used for this purpose. The molecules in the library were selected for their repellent potential using artificial intelligence.

At the end of the project, a pipeline for contract research should be established, which will enable companies with an active research department to efficiently screen new, potentially repellent substances. The high informative value of the biotests allows realistic assessments of the effectiveness under practical conditions at an early stage of research. This enables efficient use of resources in the further development of promising substances.