Professor Stephen Torr

Chair in Neglected Tropical Diseases

I have over 30 years experience of work on the behaviour, ecology of control vectors, with particular emphasis on tsetse flies and mosquitoes.

My initial training was in zoology (B.Sc, Royal Holloway College, 1980) and Applied Entomology (M.Sc, Imperial College, 1981).  In 1981, I joined the Zimbabwe Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Control Branch where I worked on the host-orientated behaviour of tsetse flies, and contributed to the development of odour-baited targets to attract and kill tsetse.  My work on tsetse behaviour formed the basis of my PhD (University of London, 1987).

In 1986, I joined the UK government’s Tropical Development Research Institute (subsequently the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich) and was involved in the early large-scale use of baits to control tsetse in Zimbabwe and Somalia and led a Zimbabwe-based team (1991-1994) carrying out applied research to improve the cost-effectiveness of using odour-baited targets and insecticide-treated cattle to control tsetse.

In 1994, I returned to the UK where I led the development of NRI’s medical and veterinary entomology programme.  Areas of research included: the use of DNA markers to assess the feeding patterns of tsetse, Stomoxys and mosquitoes; improved use of insecticide-treated cattle to control tsetse and malaria mosquitoes in sub-Saharan Africa; development of artificial baits to control species of tsetse which transmit Gambian sleeping sickness in Central and West Africa; analysis of the impact of large-scale tsetse control operations in Botswana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, and development of simulation models and decision support systems to assist in the design, implementation and monitoring of tsetse control operations.

In March 2013, I took up a joint position of Professor in Neglected Tropical Diseases at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and The University of Warwick. I am part of the Centre for Applied Health Research (CAHRD) at LSTM and Warwick Medical School.

Research

I continue to work on basic and applied aspects of vector behaviour and ecology.  My current interests include:- analysis of risk factors related to Rhodesian sleeping sickness in East and Southern Africa; assessment of the impact of insecticide-treated targets on tsetse populations in Kenya and Uganda; development and use of models to predict the costs and impact of tsetse control on Rhodesian and Gambian sleeping sickness; ovipostion behaviour ofAnopheles gambiae s.l. in Kenya and the host-orientated behaviour of the vectors of Plasmodium knowlesi malaria in Malaysia and the Philippines.

Current projects and grants

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 2011-2014.  Targeting tsetse: use of targets to eliminate African sleeping sickness (co-Principal Investigator)
  • MRC 2012-2105. Defining the biomedical, environmental and social risk factors for human infection with Plasmodium knowlesi; opportunities for prevention and control of an emerging zoonotic infection (co- Investigator)
  • NIH 2010-2014. OviART - Oviposition Attractants Residual Larvicides and Traps (co- Investigator)

Other relevant expertise, professional memberships etc.

Publications

  • Selected publications

    Shaw APM, Torr SJ, Waiswa C, Cecchi G, Wint GRW, Mattioli RC, Robinson TP (2013) Estimating the costs of tsetse control options: An example for Uganda. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2012.12.014,

    Vale GA, Chamisa A, Mangwiro C, Torr SJ (2013) A neglected aspect of the epidemiology of sleeping sickness: the propensity of the tsetse fly vector to enter houses. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(2): e2086. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002086

    Dugassa S, Lindh JM, Torr SJ, Oyieke F, Lindsay SW, et al. (2012) Electric nets and sticky materials for analysing oviposition behaviour of gravid malaria vectors. Malaria Journal 2012, 11:374 doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-374

    Vale GA, Hall DR, Chamisa A, Torr SJ (2012) Towards an early warning system for Rhodesian sleeping sickness in savannah Areas: Man-Like Traps for Tsetse Flies. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 6(12): e1978. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001978

    Torr SJ, Chamisa A, Mangwiro TNC, Vale GA (2012) Where, when and why do tsetse contact humans? Answers from studies in a national park of Zimbabwe.PLoS Negl Trop Dis 6(8): e1791. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001791

    Achee, N.L., Bangs, M.J., Farlow, R., Killeen, G.F., Lindsay, S., Logan, J.G., Moore, S.J., Rowland, M., Sweeney, K., Torr, S.J.,  Zwiebel, L. & Grieco, J.P. (2012) Spatial repellents: from discovery and development to evidence-based validation. Malaria 2012 Journal 11:164 doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-164.

    Lindh JM, Goswami P, Blackburn RS, Arnold SEJ, Vale GA, et al. (2012) Optimizing the colour and fabric of targets for the control of the tsetse fly Glossina fuscipes fuscipes. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 6(5): e1661. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001661

    Hargrove, J.W., Ouifki, R., Kajunguri, D., Vale, G.A., Torr, S.J. (2012) Modeling the control of trypanosomiasis using trypanocides or insecticide-treated livestock. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 6:e1615.

    Auty, H.K., Picozzi, K., Malele, I., Torr, S.J., Cleaveland, S. & Welburn, S. (2012) Using molecular data for epidemiological inference: Assessing the prevalence of Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense in tsetse in Serengeti, Tanzania. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 6: e1501.

    Tirados, I., Gabriella, G., Young, S. & Torr, S.J. (2011) Are herders protected by their herds? An experimental analysis of zooprophylaxis against the malaria vector Anopheles arabiensis. Malaria Journal 10:68 doi:10.1186/1475-2875-10-68

    Dyer, N.A., Ravel, S., Choi, K-S., Darby, A.C., Causse, S., Kapitano, B., Hall, M.J.R., Steen, K., Lutumba, P., Madinga, J., Torr, S.J., Okedi, L.M., Lehane, M.J. & Donnelly, M.J. (2011) Cryptic Diversity within the Major Trypanosomiasis Vector Glossina fuscipes Revealed by Molecular Markers. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 5. doi:e1266 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001266.

    Esterhuizen, J., Njiru, B., Vale, G.A., Lehane, M.J. & Torr, S.J. (2011) Vegetation and the importance of insecticide-treated target siting for control of Glossina fuscipes fuscipes. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 5: e1336.

    Esterhuizen J, Rayaisse, J.B., Tirados, I., Mpiana, S., Solano, P., Vale, G.A., Lehane, M.J. & Torr, S.J. (2011) Improving the Cost-Effectiveness of Visual Devices for the Control of Riverine Tsetse Flies, the Major Vectors of Human African Trypanosomiasis. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 5. doi:e1257 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001257.

    Hargrove, J.W., Torr, S.J. & Vale, G.A. (2011) Comment on Barclay and Vreysen: Published dynamic population model for tsetse cannot fit field data. Population Ecology 53: 413-415. doi:10.1007/s10144-010-0259-9.

    Rayaisse, J.B., Esterhuizen, J., Tirados, I., Kaba, D., Salou, E., Diarrassouba, A., Vale, G.A., Lehane, M.J., Torr, S.J. & Solano, P. (2011) Towards an optimal design of target for tsetse control: comparisons of novel targets for the control of Palpalis group tsetse in West Africa. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 5: e1332.

    Tirados I, Esterhuizen J, Rayaisse JB, Diarrassouba A, Kaba D, Mpiana S, Vale GA, Solano P, Lehane MJ & Torr SJ (2011) How Do Tsetse Recognise Their Hosts? The Role of Shape in the Responses of Tsetse (Glossina fuscipes and G. palpalis) to Artificial Hosts. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 5. doi:e1226 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001226.

    Torr, S.J., Mangwiro, T.N.C. & Hall, D.R. (2011) Shoo fly, don't bother me! Efficacy of traditional methods of protecting cattle from tsetse. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 25: 192-201.

    Torr, S.J. & Vale, G.A. (2011) Is the Even Distribution of Insecticide-Treated Cattle Essential for Tsetse Control? Modelling the Impact of Baits in Heterogeneous Environments. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 5: e1360. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001360.

    Rayaisse, J.B.,  Tirados, I.,  Kaba, D., Dewhirst, S.Y., Logan, J.G., Diarrassouba, A.,  Salou, E., Omolo, M.O., Solano, P., Lehane, M.J., Pickett, J.A., Vale, G.A., Torr, S.J. & Esterhuizen, J. (2010).  Prospects for the development of odour baits to control the tsetse flies Glossina tachinoides and G. palpalis s.l.  PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 4(3) doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000632.

    Lindh, J.M., Torr, S.J., Vale, G.A., Lehane, M.J. (2009). Improving the cost-effectiveness of artificial visual baits for  controlling the tsetse fly Glossina fuscipes fuscipes.  PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 4(3) doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000474.

    Omolo, M.O., Hassanali, A., Mpiana, S., Esterhuizen, J., Lindh, J., Lehane, M.J.,  Solano, P., Rayaisse, J.B., Vale, G.A., Torr, S.J. & Tirados, I. (2009) Prospects for developing odour baits to control Glossina fuscipes spp., the major vector of human African trypanosomiasis.  PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 4(3) 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000435.

    Carpenter, S., Mellor, P. & Torr, S.J. (2008) Control techniques for Culicoides biting mides and their application in the UK and north-western Palaearctic. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 22, 175-187.

    Torr, S.J., Della Torre, A., Calzetta, M., Costantini, C. & Vale, G.A. (2008) Towards a fuller understanding of mosquito behaviour: use of electrocuting grids to compare the odour-orientated responses of Anopheles arabiensis and An. quadriannulatus in the field.  Medical and Veterinary Entomology 22, 93-108