Professor Martin James Donnelly

Head of Vector Biology Department


Head of Department, Vector Biology Department, LSTM

Professor of Evolutionary Genetics, LSTM

Honorary Faculty Member, Malaria Programme, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

Martin trained at Girton College, Cambridge University (MA) and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (MSc, PhD). He was then awarded an American Society of Microbiology Fellowship and spent two years in the laboratory of Dr Tovi Lehmann at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, USA (1999-2001). Martin re-joined the Department of Vector Biology in 2001.


  • A major area of interest is the evolution of insecticide resistance in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae. We use a variety of approaches to identify and validate insecticide resistance associated loci.
  • A key partnership is with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Malaria Programme, where I hold an Honorary Faculty position. Through this collaboration we leverage the power of next-generation sequencing technologies to address aspects of the biology of Anopheles gambiae that impact upon the sustainable control of malaria. This includes genome wide association studies to identify genetic loci associated with insecticide resistance and population genetic studies to describe population sub-structuring. 

Current PhD Students 

Paul Howell

Ben Abong’o

Sean Tomlinson

Past PhD students

2016 Kevin Opondo, PDRF MRC The Gambia (Funding MRC)

2015 Chris Clarkson PDRA WT Sanger Institute (Funding LSTM)

2015 Fabricio Martins Faculty Member Universidade Estadual da Paraíba (Funding Brazilian Government)

2010 Sara Mitchell- Verity Foundation (Funding BBSRC)

2008 Amy Lynd- PDRA,LSTM (Funding National Institutes of Health)

2008 Samuel Dadzie- Senior researcher Noguchi Institute for Medical Research, Ghana. (Funding Ghanaian Educational Trust)

2007 Nadine Randle- PDRA, University of Liverpool (Funding Medical Research Council)

2005 Eveline Klinkenberg- Senior Epidemiologist KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, The Netherlands (Department for International Development; International Water Management Institute)

2005 Alexander Egyir-Yawson- Senior Lecturer, University of Cape Coast, Ghana (Funding Ford Foundation and TDR/WHO)

Selected publications

  • Natural diversity of the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae (2017) The Anopheles gambiae 1000 Genomes Consortium  Nature 552, 96–100

    Weetman, D., Mitchell, S.N., Wilding, C.S., Birks, D.P., Yawson, A.E., Essandoh, J., Mawejje, H.D., Djogbenou, L.S., Steen, K., Rippon, E.J., Clarkson, C.S., Field, S.G., Rigden, D.J. and Donnelly, M.J. (2015) Contemporary evolution of resistance at the major insecticide target site gene Ace-1 by mutation and copy number variation in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Molecular Ecology 24, 2656-2672

    Clarkson, C.S., Weetman, D., Essandoh, J., Yawson, A.E., Maslen, G., Manske, M., Field, S.G., Webster, M., MacInnis, B., Kwiatkowski, D. and Donnelly, M.J. (2014) Adaptive introgression between Anopheles sibling species eliminates a major genomic island but not reproductive isolation. Nature Communications 5, e4248

    Mitchell, S.N, Stevenson, B.J., Müller, P., Wilding, C.S., Yawson, A.E., Field S.G., Hemingway, J., Paine, M.J.I., Ranson, H. and Donnelly, M.J. (2012) Identification and validation of a gene causing cross-resistance between insecticide classes in Anopheles gambiae from Ghana. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109, 6147-6152