Dr Luca Facchinelli

Programme Manager/Vector Biologist

I am a Medical Entomologist specialized in mosquito ecology and behaviour. My Ph.D. project at University of Rome Sapienza (Public Health and Microbiology Department), focussed on the development and field-testing of a sticky trap for collecting Stegomyia adults, monitor their population dynamics, and study their biology.

I have a postdoctoral experience of nine years, eight of which spent in FNIH, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded projects at University of California, Davis, and at University of Perugia, Italy. In the frame of these projects I worked both in large cages and in the field to evaluate the performances of wild type and transgenic dengue and malaria vectors with the aim of moving to the field transgenic lines for controlling mosquito-borne diseases.


  • Aedes aegypti is the most important vector of arboviruses worldwide and its populations are difficult to control. This species is strongly associated with human dwellings where females take the blood meal and rest mainly indoor to develop eggs. The goal of my research is to reveal the domestic behaviour of Ae. aegypti by using a video tracking system. Indoor mosquito movements and resting positions can be exploited to target control interventions based on insecticide use.
  • Some species belonging to the Anopheles gambiae complex are the most important malaria vectors in Sub-Saharan Africa. Innovative control methods under testing include the use of radio-sterilized or transgenic males to reduce the field populations or render them refractory to parasite infection. I am interested in studying An. gambiae mating behaviour because of the importance it takes on the interactions between the lab produced males intended for field releases and the wild type individuals. 

I have experience in mosquito surveillance, large cage studies, and in managing the transition of transgenic mosquitoes from the laboratory to the field.


Selected publications

  • Quinlan MM, Birungi J, Coulibaly MB, Diabaté A, Facchinelli L, Mukabana WR, Mutunga JM, Nolan T, Raymond P, Traoré FS 2018. Containment Studies of Transgenic Mosquitoes in Disease Endemic Countries: the Broad Concept of Facilities Readiness. Accepted for publication on Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases

    Mumford JD, Leach AW, Benedict MQ, Facchinelli L, Quinlan MM 2018. Maintaining quality of candidate strains of transgenic mosquitoes for studies in containment facilities in disease endemic countries. Accepted for publication on Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases.

    Valerio L, North A, Collins CM, Mumford JD, Facchinelli L, Spaccapelo R, Benedict MQ 2016. Comparison of model predictions and laboratory observations of transgene frequencies in continuously-breeding mosquito populations. Insects 7(4):47

    Mancini MV, Spaccapelo R, Damiani C, Accoti A, Tallarita M, Petraglia E, Rossi P, Cappelli Al, Cappelli Ai, Valzano M, Picciolini M, Diabate A, Facchinelli L, Ricci I, Favia G 2016. Paratransgenesis to control malaria vectors: a semi-field pilot study. Parasites and Vectors, 9:140. DOI 10.1186/s13071-016-1427-3

    Facchinelli L, Valerio L, Lees RS, Oliva CF, Persampieri T, Collins CM, Crisanti A, Spaccapelo R, Benedict MQ 2015. Stimulating Anopheles gambiae swarms in the laboratory: application for behavioural and fitness studies. Malaria Journal 14:271. DOI: 10.1186/s12936-015-0792-2

    Oliva C, Facchinelli L, Basilico N, Spaccapelo R 2015. Role of lysozymes of Anopheles mosquitoes in Plasmodium development. In Human and Mosquito Lysozymes. Edited by Prato M. p59-65. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-09432-8_4

    Ramsey JM, Bond JG, Macotela ME, Facchinelli L, Valerio L, Brown DM, Scott TW, James AA 2014. A Regulatory Structure for Working with Genetically Modified Mosquitoes: Lessons from Mexico. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002623

    Walsh RK, Aguilar CL, Facchinelli L, Valerio L, Ramsey JM, Scott TW, Lloyd AL, Gould F 2013. Regulation of Aedes aegypti population dynamics in field systems: Quantifying direct and delayed density dependence. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 89(1):68-77. DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.12-0378.

    Facchinelli L, Valerio L, Ramsey JM, Gould F, Walsh RK, Bond G, Robert MA, Lloyd AL, James AA, Alphey L, Scott TW 2013. Field Cage Studies and Progressive Evaluation of Genetically-Engineered Mosquitoes. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 7(1): e2001. DOI:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002001

    Robert MA, Legros M, Facchinelli L, Valerio L, Ramsey JM, Scott TW, Gould F, Lloyd AL 2012. Mathematical models as aids for design and interpretation of experiments: The case of transgenic mosquitoes. Journal of Medical Entomology 49(6):1177-1188.

    Valerio L, Facchinelli L, Ramsey JM, Scott TW 2012. Dispersal of male Aedes aegypti in a coastal village in southern Mexico. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 86(4):665-76

    Helinski ME, Valerio L, Facchinelli L, Scott TW, Ramsey J, Harrington LC 2012. Evidence of polyandry in Aedes aegypti in semi-field enclosures. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 86(4):635-41.

    Walsh RK, Facchinelli L, Ramsey JM, Bond JG, Gould F 2011. Assessing the impact of density dependence in field population of Aedes aegypti. Journal of Vector Ecology. 36(2):300-7.

    Facchinelli L, Valerio L, Bond Campeón G, Wise de Valdez M, Harrington LC, Casas-Martinez M, Ramsey JM, Scott TW 2011. Development of a semi-field system for contained field trials with Aedes aegypti in Southern Mexico. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 85(2):248-56.

    Ascoli V, Senis G, Zucchetto A, Valerio L, Facchinelli L, Budroni M, Dal Maso L, Coluzzi M 2009. Distribution of 'promoter' sandflies associated with incidence of classic Kaposi's sarcoma. Medical and Veterinary Entomology. Sep;23(3):217-25.

    Valerio L, Marini F, Bongiorno G, Facchinelli L, Pombi M, Caputo B, Maroli M, Della Torre A 2009. Host-Feeding Patterns of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) in Urban and Rural Contexts within Rome Province, Italy. Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. Apr;10(3):291-4

    Facchinelli L, Koenraadt CJM, Fanello C, Kijchalao U, Valerio L, Jones JW, Scott TW, della Torre A 2008. A novel sticky trap for Aedes (Stegomyia) adults collects more mosquitoes outdoors when tested in a dengue-endemic area in Thailand. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 78(6):904-9.

    Facchinelli L, Valerio L, Pombi M, Reiter P, Costantini C, della Torre A 2007. Development of a novel sticky-trap for container-breeding mosquitoes and evaluation of its sampling properties to monitor urban populationsof Aedes albopictus. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 21(2):183-95. 

    Ascoli V, Facchinelli L, Valerio L, Manno D, Coluzzi M. 2006. Kaposi's sarcoma, human herpesvirus 8 infection and the potential role of promoter-arthropod bites in northern Sweden. Journal of Medical Virology. 78(11):1452-5.

    Ascoli V, Facchinelli L, Valerio L, Zucchetto A, Dal Maso L, Coluzzi M. 2006. The distribution of mosquito species in areas with high and low incidence of classic Kaposi's sarcoma and seroprevalence for HHV-8. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 20(2):198-208.