Forde’s PhD work focuses on the ecological interactions between invasive mosquito species and local flora, particularly the highly attractive Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) flower, under the advisement of Dr. Chloé Lahondère. Prior to his PhD work, Forde obtained his Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at Virginia Tech, and subsequently earned his Master’s degree in biochemistry in the Lahondère Lab. His Master’s thesis examined the attractive and repellent qualities of several ornamental flower species on invasive Aedes mosquito species, which naturally progressed into his current PhD studies. In addition to studying Goldenrod, Forde’s PhD work includes designing an attractive toxic sugar bait (ATSB) based on the attractive qualities of the Goldenrod’s scent, as well as studying Toxorhynchites spp., a genus of mosquito that feeds exclusively on plant-nectar.
Forde aims to develop an environmentally-friendly trap for the world’s deadliest animal: the mosquito. To reach this goal, methodologies from multiple disciplines of science, including behavioral biology, ecology, and neurophysiology, will be utilized. Forde plans to further foster this interdisciplinary approach in his research as a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change program, and looks forward to exchanging experiences and knowledge with other members of the program.