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Division of Medical Entomology "Dr. Maria Dora Feliciangeli"

The Division of Medical Entomology “Dr. Maria Dora Feliciangeli” of the Venezuelan Science Incubator

Medical Entomology

Medical entomology is concerned with the impact of insects and related arthropods on the mental and physical health of humans, domestic animals, and wildlife. It is often subdivided into public health entomology and veterinary entomology. These divisions are tenuous since many of the same arthropods cause similar injuries and diseases in both humans and other animals. (Edman, John 2009)

The history of medical entomology dates from the end of the 19th century, when arthropods were first shown to transmit important human diseases such as filariasis and malaria. Most arthropod-borne diseases are zoonotic infections that occur naturally in nonhuman hosts. Malaria, dengue fever, and most forms of filariasis are important exceptions. (Edman, 2009)

Dr. Maria Dora Feliciangeli

Maria Dora Feliciangeli de Piñero (1940-2017) was born in Borgomanero in Novara, Northern Italy and was one of Venezuela´s most notable medical entomologists who carried the flag of medical entomology wherever it was needed, which thankfully included leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, and arboviruses. She was an enthusiastic teacher and tireless researcher who coordinated many programs of great public health importance. Dora´s attention to detail and scientific courage are exemplified by her recognition of new species of sand flies. (Rangel, 2017)

Fieldwork on endemic areas of vector-borne diseases are crucial for studying vectors in their habitats and to consolidate citizen science programs.


The activities of The Division of Medical Entomology “Dr. Maria Dora Feliciangeli” are focused on basic and applied researches for taxonomy, ecology, physiology, biochemistry, vector-parasite relationship and molecular biology in vector insects of diseases and other insect pests for public health importance.

Kissing-bugs (triatomines) captured on Humocaro Bajo, Venezuela.


  1. Involve Citizen Science projects in communities affected by the presence of vector borne diseases.
  2. Conduct research on molecular epidemiology.
  3. Undertakes entomological investigations of outbreaks of vector-borne diseases in the country and recommends appropriate vector control measures
  4. Undertakes laboratory and field evaluation of various formulations of insecticides against vectors and pests of public health importance
  5. Maintains a reference collection museum of preserved specimens of arthropods of medical importance to facilitate identification of the collected material
  6. Maintains live cultures of arthropods of medical importance for teaching, supply and research purposes for scientific workers.
  7. Conducts various regular training courses on vector-borne diseases and their control.
  8. Taxonomy, ecology and biology of arthropods of medical importance.
  9. Identification and supply of live and preserved specimens of arthropods of medical relevance.


Arthropod-borne diseases studied in a Clinical and Entomological Approach


  • Chagas disease.
  • Leishmaniasis.
  • Arboviruses.
  • Tick-borne diseases.


Medical Entomology Division “Dr. Maria Dora Feliciangeli” of the Venezuelan Science Incubator


Grillet ME, Hernández-Villena JV, Llewellyn MS, Paniz-Mondolfi AE, Tami A, Vincenti-Gonzalez MF, Marquez M, Mogollon-Mendoza AC, Hernandez-Pereira CE, Plaza-Morr JD, Blohm G, et al. Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis, resurgence of vector-borne diseases, and implications for spillover in the region. Lancet Infect Dis. 2019 May;19(5):e149-e161. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(18)30757-6. Epub 2019 Feb 21. Review.

Paniz Mondolfi AE, Colmenares Garmendia A, Mendoza Pérez Y, Hernández-Pereira CE, et al. Autochthonous cutaneous leishmaniasis in urban domestic animals (Felis catus / Canis lupus familiaris) from central-western Venezuela. Acta Trop. 2019 Mar;191:252-260. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2019.01.006. Epub 2019 Jan 8.

Rodríguez-Morales AJ, Paniz-Mondolfi AE. Venezuela’s failure in malaria control. Lancet. 2014 Aug 23;384(9944):663-4. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61389-1

Rodríguez-Morales AJ, Paniz-Mondolfi AE. Venezuela: far from the path to dengue and chikungunya control. J Clin Virol. 2015 May;66:60-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2015.02.020. Epub 2015 Mar 10.

Cressey BD, Paniz-Mondolfi AE, Rodríguez-Morales AJ, Ayala JM, De Ascenção Da Silva AA. Dermatitis linearis: vesicating dermatosis caused by paederus species (coleoptera: staphylinidae). Case series and review. Wilderness Environ Med. 2013 Jun;24(2):124-31. doi: 10.1016/j.wem.2012.11.005. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

Paniz-Mondolfi AE, Pérez-Alvarez AM, Lundberg U, Fornés L, Reyes-Jaimes O, Hernández-Pérez M, Hossler E. Cutaneous lepidopterism: dermatitis from contact with moths of Hylesia metabus (Cramer 1775) (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae), the causative agent of caripito itch. Int J Dermatol. 2011 May;50(5):535-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2010.04683.x.

National and International Collaborations

Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom


Instituto de Zoologia y Ecologia Tropical, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela


The World of Arthropods, Austin, Texas, United States of America


Instituto de Altos Estudios “Dr. Arnoldo Gabaldon”. Venezuela

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