Agenor Mafra-Neto

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Agenor Mafra-Neto
Agenor Mafra-Neto Head Shot.jpg
Agenor Mafra-Neto
Agenor Mafra-Neto

(1964-05-31) May 31, 1964 (age 54)
ResidenceRiverside, California
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst
Iowa State University at Ames
Known forMating Disruption
Integrated Pest Management
Spouse(s)Kim Li Spencer
Scientific career
FieldsChemical Ecology
InstitutionsISCA Technologies, Inc.
University of California Riverside
Western Carolina University
Universidade de Alfenas
Universidade de São Paulo Ribeirao Preto
Doctoral advisorRing T. Carde

Agenor Mafra-Neto is a chemical ecology researcher and entrepreneur in the entomological field of insect chemical ecology. He is the CEO of ISCA Technologies,[1] a company specializing in the development semiochemical solutions for pest management, robotic smart traps and nanosensors. Dr Mafra-Neto is the CEO and Director of Research and Development at ISCA Technologies, Inc. which he founded in 1996 in Riverside, California. ISCA Tecnologias, Ltda was founded in Brazil in 1997.


Mafra-Neto came to the U.S. from Brazil in 1988 and received his PhD at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, under the guidance of Ring T. Carde. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Thomas C. Baker at Iowa State University at Ames, and has worked at the Universidade de Alfenas, Universidade de São Paulo Ribeirao Preto, Western Carolina University, and University of California, Riverside. Mafra-Neto is known for his work in the chemical orientation of insects, both basic and applied research. Dr. Mafra-Neto's expertise is in determining an insect's responsiveness to pheromone-containing lures (pheromone trap) and in disrupting their orientation to a pheromone source (mating disruption). Dr. Mafra-Neto has worked on the modification of insect behavior using semiochemicals both in the lab and in the field.

Research work[edit]

On a basic scientific level, his research has included the 1) the behavior of insects in the presence of complete and incomplete blends of pheromone at different doses,[2] 2) the effect of combining pheromones with insecticides,[3][4] and 3) different forms of pheromone presentation and their effect on flying males.[5][6]

Career in chemical ecology/entomology[edit]

In terms of applied science Mafra-Neto has developed and co-developed several semiochemical tools, devices and strategies[2] for pest management. One such strategy is an inexpensive attract-and-kill system developed for small cotton growers in Brazil.[7] Two examples of more technologically advanced strategies to release semiochemicals are the Metered Semiochemical Timed-Release System (MSTRS) and Specialized Pheromone & Lure Application Technology (SPLAT). The development of the MSTRS or Puffers, resulted in a novel, automated device that holds large quantities of pheromone under pressure, and actively releases exact doses of active ingredients at set intervals throughout a programmed period,[4] proven to control pests in very diverse environments including storage facilities, grasslands and corn fields (Baker et al. 1997 J. Agric.[7]), and cranberry bogs[8][9] SPLAT is a proprietary base matrix formulation of biologically inert materials used to control the release of semiochemicals and/or odors with or without pesticides. Extensive research on SPLAT[10][11][11][12][13] using a variety of lures demonstrates that this matrix emits semiochemicals at effective pest suppression levels for a time interval ranging from 2–30 weeks, controlling larvae and adult[14] insect pests.

Managing mosquitoes and the diseases they vector: Trojan Cows[edit]

Mafra-Neto has developed an artificial scent, called Abate, that has the key semiochemical elements to provide a signature of human host smell to mosquitoes and other blood feeding insects. Spraying abate on an animal can trick anthropophilic disease-transmitting insects, such as malaria mosquitoes, into attacking animals rather than their preferred human hosts, thereby reducing infection rates. Malaria-causing parasites, carried by mosquitoes, identify the human hosts that help them reproduce by detecting the semiochemicals that now are contained in the Abate formulation. Cattle are resistant to malaria and many other human diseases transmitted by insects, and are often treated with deworming medication, which has a toxic effect on mosquitoes and their parasites. Abate opens up the possibility for novel ways to reduce the impact of insect vectored diseases, such as malaria. This is being tested with generous funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The use of Abate in tandem with area-wide deworming campaigns has the potential to disrupt the transmission cycle of insect vectored human diseases, like malaria, in the treated areas.

Managing mosquitoes and the diseases they vector: Nectar Based Attract and Kill[edit]

Mosquitoes, independent of their physiological state or gender, feed on sugar solutions virtually every day of their lives. Mafra-Neto's group has developed an artificial blend, called Vectrax, that attracts disease-carrying male and female disease-carrying mosquitoes by mimicking the scent of flowers and the sweet taste of nectar. These components also induce mosquitoes to feed on the formulation, which, when applied in the field blended with a small amount of an effective insecticide results in an attract and kill (A&K) formulation. Vectrax has shown to effectively target mosquito vector species, like Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex species, while leaving non-target organisms unharmed. When sprayed on vegetation or structures outside residential areas and public spaces, Vectrax attracts and kills outdoor mosquitoes before they can bite a host, acting as an effective barrier to mosquitoes that might otherwise enter households in search of blood meals. As an inexpensive, efficacious, and easy-to-apply mosquito control formulation specifically designed for outdoor use, this product is addressing a critical weakness in current efforts to eradicate malaria[5][4], Zika,[15] Dengue, Filariasis and other vector-transmitted diseases, improving the health and quality of life of people living in endemic regions around the globe.

Smart traps and sensors[edit]

Dr. Mafra-Neto has developed IP that resulted in several patents, including on autonomous, area-wide monitoring and reporting systems,[16] on smart traps and pest identification sensors.[17] His research on sensors,[18] including nanosensors and sensor signals[19][20][21][22] resulted in competitive awards from several agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Defense (DoD), US Army, Air Force, NIST Advanced Technologies Program (ATP) from the Department of Commerce, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) among others. Together with Dr. Eamonn Keogh, he received the first prize in the 2012[23] Vodafone Americas Foundation's Wireless Innovation Project[24] and a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation[25] Grand Challenges Explorations Grant.[26]


  1. ^ Archived February 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on January 24, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Mafra-Neto, A & R.T. Cardé. 1998. Rate of realized interception of pheromone pulses in different wind speeds modulates almond moth orientation. J. Comp. Physiol. A 182: 563–572.
  3. ^ Mafra-Neto, A. & R.T. Cardé. 1996. Dissection of the pheromone-modulated flight of moths using the single-pulse response as a template. Experientia 52:373–379.
  4. ^ a b Mafra-Neto, A., Baker, T.C., 1996a. Timed, metered sprays of pheromone disrupt mating of Cadra cautella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). J. Agric. Entomol. 13, 149–168.
  5. ^ Mafra-Neto, A., Carde´, R.T., 1994. Fine-scale structure of pheromone plumes modulates upwind orientation of flying moths. Nature 369, 142–144
  6. ^ Mafra-Neto, A., Baker, T.C., 1996b. Elevation of pheromone response threshold in almond moth males pre-exposed to pheromone spray. Physiol. Entomol. 21, 217–222
  7. ^ Mafra-Neto, A. & M. Habib. 1996. Evidence that mass trapping suppresses pink bollworm in cotton fields. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 81: 315–323.
  8. ^ Baker, Thomas C.; Dittl, T.; Mafra-Neto, Agenor. 1997. Disruption of sex communication in the blackheaded fireworm in Wisconsin cranberry marshes by using MSTRS devices. J. Agric. Entomol. 14: 449–457.
  9. ^ Baker, Thomas C.; Mafra-Neto, Agenor; Dittl, T. 1997. First attempts at disrupting sex pheromone communication in the blackheaded fireworm in Wisconsin using a novel controlled-release device. Cranberry: Resources: Wisconsin Cranberry School Proceedings. Retrieved September 10, 2010 from Archived July 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Vargas, Roger I.; Stark, John. D.; Hertlein, Mark; Mafra-Neto, Agenor; Coler, Reginald; Pinero, Jaime. 2008. Evaluation of SPLAT with Spinosad and Methyl Eugenol or Cue-Lure for “Attract-and-Kill” of Oriental Fruit Fly and Melon Fruit Flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Hawaii. J. Econ. Entomol. 101: 759–768.
  11. ^ a b Lapointe, Stephen L.; Stelinski, Lukasz L.; Evens, Terence J.; Niedz, Randall P.; Hall, David G.; Mafra-Neto, Agenor. 2009. Sensory Imbalance as Mechanism of Orientation Disruption in the Leafminer Phyllocnistis citrella: Elucidation by Multivariate Geometric Designs and Response Surface Models. J Chem Ecol. 35: 896–903
  12. ^ Vargas, Roger I.; Pinero, Jaime C.; Mau, Ronald F. L.; Stark, John D.; Hertlein, Mark; Mafra-Neto, Agenor; Coler, Reginald; Getchell, Anna. 2009. Attraction and mortality of oriental fruit flies to SPLAT-MAT-methyl eugenol with spinosad. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 131: 286–293.
  13. ^ Vargas, Roger I.; Pinero, Jaime C.; Jang, Eric B.; Mau, Ronald F. L.; Stark, John D.; Gomez, Luis; Stoltman, Lyndsie; Mafra-Neto, Agenor. 2010. Response of Melon Fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) to Weathered SPLAT-Spinosad-Cue-Lure. J. Econ. Entomol. 103 (5): In Press.
  14. ^ Mafra-Neto, A. 2008. Dual action organic formulation to control two stages of insect pests. US Pat. US Patent No. 7,887,828.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Mafra-Neto, A. 2002. Method for pest management and crop certification utilizing network accessible database. US Patent 5,728,376.
  17. ^ Mafra-Neto, A., Coler, R. 2004. Method for pest management using pest identification sensors and network accessible database. US Patent 6,766,251.
  18. ^ Batista, G.; Keogh, E.; Hao, Y. and Mafra-Neto, A. 2011.Towards Automatic Classification of Flying Insects using Inexpensive Sensors. AAAI-11 PGAI. In press.
  19. ^ Wei, L.; Keogh, E. J.; Van Herle, H.; Mafra-Neto, A. 2005. Atomic Wedgie: Efficient Query Filtering for Streaming Time Series. International Conference on Data Mining 2005: 490–497.
  20. ^ Xi, X.; Keogh, E.J.; Wei, Li; Mafra-Neto, A. 2007. Finding Motifs in Database of Shapes. In: Proceedings of the Seventh SIAM International Conference on Data Mining. April 26–28, 2007. Minneapolis, MN SDM2007.
  21. ^ Ye, L.; Wang, X.; Keogh, E.J.; Mafra-Neto, A. 2009. Autocannibalistic and Anyspace Indexing Algorithms with Application to Sensor Data Mining. In: Proceedings of the SIAM International Conference on Data Mining. April 30 – May 2, 2009. Sparks, NV SDM2009: 85–96.
  22. ^ Wei, L.; Keogh, E.J.; Van Herle, H.; Mafra-Neto, A.; Abbott, R. J. 2007. Efficient query filtering for streaming time series with applications to semi-supervised learning of time series classifiers. Knowl. Inf. Syst. 11 (3): 313–344.
  23. ^ [1] 2012 Vodafone Americas Foundation's Wireless Innovation Project Winners
  24. ^ [2] Wireless Bug-Sensor
  25. ^ [3] Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Program
  26. ^ [4][permanent dead link] Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Explorations Program: Round 9 Highlights

External links[edit]