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

I trained at Girton College, Cambridge University and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. I then spent two years in the laboratory of Dr Tovi Lehmann at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, on an American Society of Microbiology Fellowship. I 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.

Much of this work is conducted jointly with Dr David Weetman and team. A second research area is understanding the impact of insecticide resistance on malaria epidemiology ,through observational studies and randomized control trials.

Key external partnerships include:

1. Professor Dominic Kwiatkowski at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, 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.

2. Drs. Eric Ochomo ( and Ben Abong’o ( ) at KEMRI, Kisumu. Together we work on a range of basic and translational science projects including vector control trials and machine learning approaches for identifying insecticide resistant variants in genomic and transcriptomic data sets.

3. Dr. Luigi Sedda, Lancaster University ( The development of spatially explicit sampling frameworks for vectors including adaptive sampling.

4. Drs. Catherine Moyes ( ) and Penny Hancock ( from the Big Data Institute, University of Oxford, lead a collaboration on geospatial modelling of insecticide resistance.

5. Professors Moses Kamya  and Sarah Staedke from IDRC, Uganda. Our major collaboration is the LLINEUP trial of next generation insecticide treated bednets .

6. Dr Luc Djogbenou is a Professor and Wellcome Trust Fellow based at the Institut Régional de Santé Publique/University of Abomey-Calavi. His fellowship addresses the interaction between insecticide resistance and vectorial ability in Anopheles gambiae

Team members

Kirsten Duda
Jessica Lingley-DVB lab manager
Eric Lucas
Amy Lynd
Kwitaka Maluzi
Daniel McDermott
Sanjay Nagi
Alison Reynolds
Emily Rippon
Luciene Salas Jennings
Sean Tomlinson

Past PhD students

2019 Ben Abong’o, Research Scientist, KEMRI, Kisumu

2018 Paul Howell, Verily Life Sciences

2016 Kevin Opondo, VectorLink, Kisumu

2015 Chris Clarkson, Senior Staff Scientist, Wellcome Sanger Institute

2015 Fabricio Martins, Faculty Member Universidade Estadual da Paraíba

2015 Victor Asoala, Scientist Navrongo Health Research Centre   

2014 Bilali Kabula, Scientist, National Institute of Medical Research, Tanzania 

2013 Bruno Gomes, PDRA, Fiocruz, Brasil

2010 Sara Mitchell, Staff Scientist, Verily Life Sciences

2008 Amy Lynd, Senior PDRA LSTM

2008 Samuel Dadzie- Senior researcher Noguchi Institute for Medical Research, Ghana.

2007 Nadine Randle- PDRA, University of Liverpool

2005 Eveline Klinkenberg- Senior Epidemiologist KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, The Netherlands

2005 Alexander Egyir-Yawson- Senior Lecturer, University of Cape Coast, Ghana

Selected publications

  • Malaria and other vector borne diseases

    Grau-Bové, X., Harding, N.J., Miles, A., Kwiatkowski, D., Donnelly, M.J., Weetman, D. and the Anopheles gambiae 1000 Genomes Consortium. (2020) Resistance to dieldrin evolution in African malaria vectors is driven by interspecific and interkaryotypic introgression. Molecular Biology and Evolution, in press, and BioRxiv

    Lucas, E. Miles, A., Harding, N.J., Clarkson, C.S., Lawniczak, M.K.N., Kwiatkowski, D.P., Weetman, D., Donnelly, M.J. and the Anopheles gambiae 1000 Genomes Consortium (2019) Whole genome sequencing reveals high complexity of copy number variation at insecticide resistance loci in malaria mosquitoes. Genome Research 29, 1250-1261

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

    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

    e4248 5. 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

    Resistance research and management

    Staedke, S.G., Gonahasa, S., Dorsey, G, Kamya, M.R., Maiteki-Sebuguzi, C., Lynd, A., Katureebe, A., Kyohere, M., Mutungi, P., Kigozi, S.P., Opigo, J., Hemingway, J. and Donnelly, M.J. (2020) Effect of long-lasting insecticidal nets with and without piperonyl butoxide on malaria indicators in Uganda (LLINEUP): a pragmatic, cluster-randomised trial embedded in a national LLIN distribution campaign. Lancet, 395, 1292–303

    Abong’o, B., Gimnig, J.E., Torr, S.J., Longman, B., Omoke,D., Muchoki, M., ter Kuile, F., Ochomo, E., Munga, S., Samuels, A.M., Njagi,K., Maas, J., Perry, R.T., Fornadel, C., Donnelly, M.J. and Oxborough, R. (2020) Impact of indoor residual spraying with pirimiphos methyl (Actellic 300CS®) on entomological indicators of transmission and malaria case burden in Migori County, western Kenya. Scientific Reports, 10, e4518

    Kleinschmidt, I., Bradley, J., Knox, T.B., Mnzava, A. P., Kafy, H. T., Mbogo, C., Bashir, A. I., Bigoga, J., Adechoubou, A., Raghavendra, K., Cook, J., Malik, E. M., Nkuni, Z. J., Macdonald, M., Bayoh, N., Ochomo, E., Fondjo, E., Awono-Ambene, H. P., Etang, J., Akogbeto, M., Bhatt, R., Chourasia, M.K., Swain, D. K., Kinyari, T., Subramaniam, K., Massougbodji, A., Oke-Sopoh, M., Hounto, A., Kouambeng, C., Abdin, M.S., West, P., Elmardi, K., Valecha, N., Mathenge, E., Kamau, L., Lines, J. and Donnelly, M.J. (2018) Implications of insecticide resistance for malaria vector control with long-lasting insecticidal nets: outcomes from a WHO-coordinated multi-country prospective study. Lancet Infectious Diseases, 18, e30172