Dr Marta Maia
Vector control to fight malaria
Malaria is mostly controlled through the use of bed nets and insecticides, but progress has stalled and we need new vector control interventions. Mosquitoes can be affected by endectocides carried in the blood of hosts. Clinical trials will determine whether ivermectin administered to human or cattle can be used to impact malaria transmission.
I am a medical entomologist based at the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Programme in Kilifi, Kenya. My main research interests include malaria vector bionomics, control and surveillance.
I originally trained in veterinary medicine and did a PhD at the Free University of Berlin on evaluating insecticide-treated fences to protect cattle from disease vectors. After finishing my PhD, I took on a post-doc fellow position at the LSHTM evaluating spatial repellents for malaria vector control based at the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania. I later joined the SwissTPH as a scientific collaborator developing and testing new malaria vector control tools such as plant-based mosquito repellents, spatial repellents attractive-toxic sugar baits and mosquito attractants.
I am interested in novel vector control tools that may address outdoor biting mosquitoes and therewith reduce residual malaria transmission. I am particularly interested in endectocides such as ivermectin and am involved in research aiming at better understanding how ivermectin may impact vector population and malaria transmission.
I am also interested in developing new tools that can provide high-throughput and affordable alternatives to cross-sectional malaria prevalence surveys to map malaria transmission intensity using the mosquito populations. I am currently investigating near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and MALDI-TO-MS for predicting malaria infection in Anopheline mosquitoes using machine learning methods.
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