Dr John D Howard

Post-Doctoral Research Associate

John completed his PhD at the University of Sheffield (2015-2020) on the use of chemically modified dsRNA insecticides as an alternative to traditional small molecule chemical pesticides for the control of agricultural pests, in the labs of Prof Mark Dickman (Dept. Chemical & Biological Engineering) and Dr Stephen Brown (Sheffield RNAi Screening Facility, School of Biosciences).

Prior to that he obtained an MEng in Chemical Engineering with Biotechnology from the University of Sheffield in (2011-2015).

Between the end of his PhD and the start of his position at LSTM, John also worked for a UK Lighthouse Lab Network COVID-19 testing lab, as an RNA Extraction Lab Deputy Supervisor, and later conducting quality control data analysis.

He joined LSTM in 2021 as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the lab of Hilary Ranson, in the Vector Biology Department.


John is a molecular entomologist and biochemist, interested in research at the chemistry-life sciences interface, and its application to vector control and crop pest insect management. He also has side interests in insect RNAi; bioanalytics; protein-ligand, protein-protein, protein-RNA interactions; and structural biology.

His current research looks at the role of mosquito chemosensory proteins in insecticide resistance, as part of the grant:

The role of chemosensory proteins in conferring pyrethroid resistance, BBSRC.

The role of Chemosensory Proteins in Insecticide Resistance

A highly potent pyrethroid resistance mechanism was recently discovered in African Anopheles mosquitoes.

An increase in the expression of a class of small proteins normally involved in chemical communications (and hence termed chemosensory proteins) in the legs of the mosquito acts as a sponge, absorbing the pyrethroid insecticide as it enters the mosquito via contact with the bednet.

One specific member of this protein family, SAP2, is of key importance: mosquitoes that have elevated levels of SAP2 have a much greater chance of surviving pyrethroid exposure and, if we stop the mosquitoes producing this protein, this pyrethroid resistance largely disappears.

With funding from BBSRC we are now establishing exactly how an increase in expression of this SAP2 protein plays such a pivotal role in pyrethroid resistance, and screening for inhibitors that could be used as synergists to break this resistance mechanism.


TROP775 Key Aspects in Molecular and Cellular Biology of Tropical Diseases and Vectors


Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC)
Member of the Royal Entomological Society (Mem.RES)
Fellow of the Linnean Society of London (FLS)

Selected publications