The Florida Medical Entomological Laboratory (FMEL), part of the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), is about 3 miles south of Vero Beach along the Indian River Lagoon on Florida's subtropical east coast. The Laboratory, established in 1956, consists of a group of buildings among 38 acres of an oak-palm forest a scrub oak-pine forest and an extensive salt marsh.
The FMEL has a legislative mandate to:
- Conduct research in the biology and control of biting insects and other arthropods which are important transmitters of disease or pest annoyances and on the pathogens they transmit.
- Be a center to train students and personnel from public health, veterinary science, sanitation, mosquito control, urban planning and engineering, wetlands management, and other fields requiring knowledge of medical entomology.
- Integrate international programs into the Center’s research, teaching and extension activities.
Our mission is to conduct cutting edge research in medical entomology that includes vectors, pathogens and their interactions and management utilizing a global and environmentally-sound approach; extend and apply resulting knowledge and innovations locally and globally for the benefit of Florida and the global community; and translate faculty expertise and insights into an effective program for training and instruction of current and future researchers, teachers, public health workers, and the general public. We strive to be a globally recognized medical entomology and public health research and education center serving as a nexus of international collaborative research on vector-borne diseases.
Today, the FMEL is one of the world's largest research institutions devoted to the understanding and control of medically important and biting insects. Modern laboratory and support facilities and easy access to natural habitats offer an environment conducive to scientific investigation. Over 1100 scientific publications have been published in national and international peer-reviewed journals. The UF/IFAS Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory (FMEL) Extension programs provide information gained through research on biting insects and other arthropods that transmit disease to mosquito control and public health professionals, UF/IFAS Extension faculty, and the public. FMEL’s Extension programs also provide training in medical entomology to public health and mosquito control professionals within Florida as well as internationally.
The FMEL staff includes 13 faculty in the University of Florida's Department of Entomology and Nematology as well as post-doctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students, and visiting scientists. Research support is provided by appropriate technical, clerical, administrative, and maintenance personnel.