Professor Hilary Ranson

Head of Department of Vector Biology

Hilary obtained a BSc in Biology from the University of York (1991), an MSc in Medical Parasitology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (1992), and a PhD in Molecular Entomology from Cardiff University (1996).  A Wellcome Trust International Travelling Fellowship took Hilary to the University of Notre Dame, USA for two years.  This was followed by a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship, held at Cardiff University and subsequently transferred to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in 2001. Hilary spent a brief period at Imperial College London from 2005 to 2006 and then returned to the Vector Group at LSTM in 2007. 

Hilary has been Head of the Department of Vector Biology since 2010 and was awarded a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award in 2013.

In 2017 Hilary spent a six month sabbatical at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2017 where she was a visiting Professor in Immunology and Infectious Disease.

Teaching

Hilary participates in the teaching of the Masters programmes in Biology and Control of Parasites and Disease Vectors and Molecular Biology of Parasites and Disease Vectors, and the Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene at LSTM and acts as an occasional guest lecturer at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Research

Hilary's research activities encompass various aspects related to the control of mosquito vectors of human disease.  She has a particular interest in the causes and consequences of insecticide resistance and my group have been using a variety of molecular approaches to study the mechanisms of insecticide resistance in Anopheles and Aedes mosquitoes. 

Hilary was scientific coordinator of the European Union FP7 collaborative project, AvecNet from 2010-2016 (AvecNet EU) which developed and evaluated new tools for malaria vector control.  She is currently leading on two major projects, MIRA and PIIVeC and the lead scientist for LITE.  

Malaria in Insecticide Resistant Africa

In some high malaria burden countries, recent bednet distribution programmes have had less impact on disease transmission than predicted.  One hypothesis is that insecticide resistance in the mosquito vectors is undermining the performance of bednets.  Hilary is coordinating a new Wellcome Trust collaborative project, Malaria in Insecticide Resistant Africa, which is using a transdisciplinary approach to evaluate the reasons for the poor performance of bednets in Burkina Faso.  They are collecting extensive field data on bednet usage, access to treatment, malaria risk factors, mosquito ecology, behaviour and insecticide resistance and working with infectious disease modellers and health economists to understand the limitations of current malaria control tools in contemporary African settings and to propose an affordable solution to sustaining malaria control.

Partnership for Increasing the Impact of Vector Control (PIIVeC)

PIIVeC is a newly funded research capability strengthening partnership supported by the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund.  Many of the current tools for controlling the vectors of diseases like malaria, dengue, Zika and leishmaniasis are inadequate in twenty first century urban environments or failing due to insecticide resistance, while the evidence base for newer interventions remains weak. Solutions to reduce the burden of these diseases require integrated approaches. PIIVeC is led by LSTM and will work with scientists and disease control programmes in Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Malawi to identify national research priorities and address the acute shortage of vector biologists in these countries. The Partnership will generate new knowledge and tools and strengthen national decision-making with the goal of reducing disease burden and increasing the resilience to respond to outbreaks.

Liverpool Insect Testing Establishment (LITE)

The Liverpool Insect Testing Establishment (LITE), now housed in state of the art new facilities in the Liverpool Life Sciences Accelerator, provides a professional service to screen new vector control products against insecticide resistant populations of mosquitoes.  LITE maintains a range of insecticide susceptible and resistant colonies of mosquitoes, many unique to LSTM, and offers a number of alternative protocols for insecticide efficacy testing. We can also offer services in insecticide quantification.  For further information, please see the website (http://www.lite-testing-facility.com)  

Current PhD Students

  • Ms Angela Hughes, (Part time) The lifelong effects of insecticide exposure and how to measure them.
  • Jessica Williams (Part Time): Preparing for field release of new insecticides
  • Dave Malone (Part Time): Evaluation of space spraying for mosquito control.
  • Natalie Lissenden (co-supervised by P McCall): (Part Time): The impact of insecticide resistance on mosquito behaviour and implications for control

Postdocs and Programme Managers 

Mrs Helen Williams: Manager of LITE

Dr Eve Worrall:  Programme Manager 

Sharon Mullane:  Programme Co-ordinator

Dr Rosemary Lees:  Postdoc with LITE

Dr Vicky Ingham:  Postdoc studying mechanisms of pyrethroid resistance in Anopheles gambiae

Dr Linda Grigoraki:  Postdoc studying cuticular resistance in mosquitoes

Technicians

Ms Angela Hughes:  Lab Manager Vector Department

Ms Joanna Solino:  Insectary Technician

Marion Morris 

Faye Brown 

Rachel Davies

Girogio Praulins

Sanjay Nagi

Current grants

  • Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award:  Malaria in Insecticide Resistant Africa (PI)
  • GCRF Partnership for Increasing the Impact of Vector Control (PI)
  • Innovative Vector Control Consortium, Liverpool Insecticide Testing Establishment (PI)
  • Royal Society GCRF Challenge Grant
  • Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award
  • NIHR, HPRU on Zoonotic and Emerging Infections (Deputy Director)

 

Other relevant expertise, professional memberships etc.

  • Member External Scientific Advisory Panel IVCC
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Insect Molecular Biology and Medical and Veterinary Entomology
  • Member of Royal Society Newton International Fellowship and International Collaborations Panels
  • Member of Against Malaria Foundation Scientific Advisory Board
  • Member of UK Advisory Committee on Malaria Prophylaxis
  • Fellow of Royal Entomological Society
  • Member of British Society of Parasitology

Publications

  • Selected publications

    Hemingway, J., Hemingway, J., Ranson, H., Magill, A., Kolaczinski, J., Fornadel, C., Gimnig, J., Coetzee, M., Simard, F., Roch, D.K., Hinzoumbe, C.K., Pickett, J., Schellenberg, D., Gething, P., Hoppe, M. & Hamon, N. 2016, "Averting a malaria disaster: will insecticide resistance derail malaria control?", Lancet (London, England), vol. 387, no. 10029, pp. 1785-1788.

    Ranson, H. & Lissenden, N. 2016, "Insecticide Resistance in African Anopheles Mosquitoes: A Worsening Situation that Needs Urgent Action to Maintain Malaria Control", Trends in parasitology, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 187-196.

    Churcher TS, Lissenden N, Griffin JT, Worrall E and Ranson H 2016, The impact of pyrethroid resistance on the efficacy and effectiveness of bednets for malaria control in Africa. E-Life pii: e16090

     Viana, M., Hughes, A., Matthiopoulos, J., Ranson, H. and Ferguson. H.M. 2016, Delayed mortality effects cut the malaria transmission potential of insecticide-resistant mosquitoes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  vol 113, no 30 8975-80.

    Toe, K.H., Jones, C.M., N'Fale, S., Ismail, H.M., Dabire, R.K. & Ranson, H. 2014, "Increased pyrethroid resistance in malaria vectors and decreased bed net effectiveness, burkina faso", Emerging infectious diseases, vol. 20, no. 10, pp. 10.3201/eid2010.140619.

    Toe, K.H., N'Fale, S., Dabire, R.K., Ranson, H. & Jones, C.M. 2015, "The recent escalation in strength of pyrethroid resistance in Anopheles coluzzi in West Africa is linked to increased expression of multiple gene families", BMC genomics, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 146-015-1342-6.

    Edi, C.V., Djogbenou, L., Jenkins, A.M., Regna, K., Muskavitch, M.A., Poupardin, R., Jones, C.M., Essandoh, J., Ketoh, G.K., Paine, M.J., Koudou, B.G., Donnelly, M.J., Ranson, H. & Weetman, D. 2014, "CYP6 P450 enzymes and ACE-1 duplication produce extreme and multiple insecticide resistance in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae", PLoS genetics, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. e1004236.

    Ingham, V.A., Jones, C.M., Pignatelli, P., Balabanidou, V., Vontas, J., Wagstaff, S.C., Moore, J.D. & Ranson, H. 2014, "Dissecting the organ specificity of insecticide resistance candidate genes in Anopheles gambiae: known and novel candidate genes", BMC genomics, vol. 15, pp. 1018-2164-15-1018.

    Poupardin, R., Srisukontarat, W., Yunta, C. & Ranson, H. 2014, "Identification of carboxylesterase genes implicated in temephos resistance in the dengue vector Aedes aegypti", PLoS neglected tropical diseases, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. e2743.

    Toe, K.H., Jones, C.M., N'Fale, S., Ismail, H.M., Dabire, R.K. & Ranson, H. 2014, "Increased pyrethroid resistance in malaria vectors and decreased bed net effectiveness, burkina faso", Emerging infectious diseases, vol. 20, no. 10, pp. 10.3201/eid2010.140619.