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Mosquito Spit

For scientists in Emily Derbyshire’s lab, the search for new malaria treatments requires mosquito spit -- lots and lots of mosquito spit. The team studies the initial stages of malaria infection in humans, after the malaria-causing Plasmodium parasite sets up shop in the liver but before it infects the blood. To catch Plasmodium early in its development, students dissect the salivary glands of thousands of infected mosquitos and harvest the young parasites, which glow green in this microscope image of the spit glands. By exposing the parasites to liver cells in the lab, they can watch the very first steps of infection.