Kennedy Kind Zembere

MSc Student

Kennedy is a vector biology researcher with an interest is in biology, ecology and behavior of disease vectors. He desires to see a malaria-free world by conducting research leading towards the development and application of novel tools which will contribute to the reduction of malaria and other vector borne diseases. He holds a Bachelor of Education Sciences degree from the University of Malawi, Chancellor College.

He joined the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust as a pre-MSc intern in 2018/2019. One of the biggest challenges facing malaria control and possible elimination is residual transmission, which is mostly contributed by outdoor biting mosquitoes. Development and application of novel outdoor surveillance tools is thus key. As part of this internship, Kennedy conducted a study aimed at providing a comparative field-assessment of sampling devices for outdoor, host-seeking mosquitoes on a sugarcane estate in southern Malawi. In this study, he was assessing the efficiency of a newly developed outdoor trap, host decoy trap against the gold standard tools that are currently in use.

Between 2019 to 2021, worked as a Research Assistant at Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme under the vector biology department where he was leading a study project titled “Assessing the operational usage of drone imagery for malaria mosquito breeding site mapping in Malawi” in the vector biology research group at MLW. The primary objective of this study was to assess the feasibility of using drone imagery to guide malaria control interventions by providing fine-scale mapping of mosquito breeding sites.
He has previously worked as an intern in the college of Medicine’s Majete Malaria Project (MMP). The MMP was a large operational research project that assessed, among other interventions, the effect of larval source management and house screening on malaria transmission.

Kennedy is currently studying masters in Tropical Disease Biology at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine under the Commonwealth masters’ scholarship. Overall, his MSc training would largely contribute to reducing vector disease transmission and improve people’s well-being. Malawi’s malaria control machinery is being challenged due to limited number of vector biologists and lack of effective sampling tools and he would like to help filling that gap.
After this master’s training, Kennedy would like to return to Malawi and continue being mentored in the Vector Biology research group. He intends to later on, secure a PhD training focusing on implementation and effectiveness of novel vector control strategies in low resource settings such as Malawi and gradually blossom into a more confident and independent academic research leader and policy advocate on malaria and other vector-borne disease control in Malawi and sub-Saharan Africa. He is much more interested in the control of residual malaria transmission through development and implementation of outdoor based mosquito control tools that would complement the current indoor biased tools (ITNs and IRS).


My current research work involves the development and testing of substrates for evaluating insecticide efficacy for Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS). This study aims to come up with a range of standard mud surfaces that will be used for experiments which will help in understanding the properties of different muds, to guide optimizing insecticides used in IRS. Using UK soil substrates, I intend to develop substrates that match the different properties of mud walls from different parts of Africa for improved laboratory testing of IRS products and test them in the laboratory at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to determine surface concentration, absorption, and efficacy. This would potentially minimize the need to import mud samples from Africa for testing in the UK.

Selected publications

  • Kennedy Zembere, James Chirombo, Peter Nasoni, Daniel McDermott, Lizzie Divala, Frances
    Hawkes, Christopher M. Jones. The human-baited host decoy trap (HDT) is an efficient
    sampling device for exophagic malaria mosquitoes within irrigated lands in southern Malawi.
    Sci Rep. 2022 Mar 2;12(1):3428.

    Michelle C. Stanton., Patrick Kalonde., Kennedy Zembere., et al. The application of drones for
    mosquito larval habitat identification in rural environments: a practical approach for malaria
    control? Malar J 20, 244 (2021).

    Monicah M. Mburu, Kennedy Zembere, Alexandra Hiscox , Jomo Banda, Kamija Phiri, Henk van
    den Berg , Themba Mzilahowa, Willem Takken and Robert S. McCann. Assessment of the Suna
    trap for sampling mosquitoes indoors and outdoors. Malar J (2019) 18:51.

    Monicah M. Mburu, Kennedy Zembere, Themba Mzilahowa, Anja D. Terlouw, Tumaini
    Malenga, Henk van den Berg, Willem Takken and Robert S. McCann. Impact of cattle on the
    abundance of indoor and outdoor resting malaria vectors in southern Malawi. Malar J 20, 353