I received a B.Sc. in a Biological Sciences (2005-2009) and a M.Sc. in Cellular and Molecular Biology (2009-2011) from the University of Catania (Italy). I then completed a M.Sc. in Molecular Parasitology and Vector Biology as part of a joint programme of the Universities of Salford, Manchester and Keele (2012-2013) where I worked under the supervision of Dr. Catherine Merrick to investigate the regulation of the virulence genes of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. I joined LSTM for my Ph.D. (2013-2017) and worked with Dr. Gareth Lycett to investigate the molecular basis of insecticide resistance in the African malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. I then held a post-doctoral position at the University of California Irvine (2017-2019) working with Prof. Anthony James to develop gene drive systems for population modification of the Indian malaria vector Anopheles stephensi. I re-joined LSTM in 2020 on a joint appointment between the Vector and TDB departments working with Prof. Hilary Ranson, Dr. Lisa Reimer, and Prof. Giancarlo Biagini.
I am involved in two projects:
Establishing a Plasmodium falciparum/Anopheles infection platform to assess the impact of insecticide exposure on parasite development (with Prof Ranson, Dr Reimer, and Dr Ingham).
This project aims to investigate the impact of insecticide resistance on malaria transmission and to determine whether the exposure of mosquitoes to new insecticides and antimalarial drugs impacts the development of the malaria parasite in the mosquito.
Understanding the role of the antennae in the mosquito’s behavioural response to insecticide-treated bed nets (with Prof Ranson, Prof McCall, and Dr Reimer).
This study uses genomic techniques and behavioural assays to investigate the molecular link between insecticide resistance mechanisms and the behavioural responses to bed nets in malaria-transmitting Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes with a specific focus on the role that the mosquito antennae play in these processes.
Director’s Catalyst Fund, LSTM & Wellcome Trust, 2020, £ 50,000
I am an Associate Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (AFHEA)
• Infection of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes with Plasmodium falciparum parasites, Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute (2019)
• Insect Genetic Technologies course, University of Maryland (2016)
• Laboratory Diagnosis of Faecal & Blood Parasites, LSTM (2014)
• Travel scholarship, Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene (2017)
• Jean Clayton Fund Award, LSTM (2016)
• Conference Participation Fund, Royal Entomological Society (2016)
• Hugh Mulligan Prize for work of outstanding merit on M.Sc. thesis in the field of parasitology, University of Salford (2014)
Selected scientific meetings
• Tata Institute for Genetics and Society (TIGS) symposium, San Diego CA USA (2019)
• Mosquito EMBO meeting, Kolymbari Crete, (2019)
• Gordon Research Conference on Malaria, Les Diablerets Switzerland (2019)
• UCI Malaria Initiative (UCI-MI) symposium, Irvine CA USA (2019)
• ASTM&H, New Orleans LA USA (2018)
• Parasite strategies in host infection EMBO meeting, Les Embiez France (2018)
• Data Needs and Assay Design for Decision Making on Gene Drive-Modified Mosquitoes, FNIH, Newport Beach CA USA (2019).
• Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-22) of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), Montreal Canada (2018).
• American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS)
• Royal Entomological Society (RES)
• Insect Genetic Technologies Research Coordination Network (IGTRCN)
• Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene (RSTM&H)
• British Society for Parasitology (BSP)