Kevin Opondo is a postdoctoral fellow at DELTAS Africa-funded Malaria Research Capacity Development (MARCAD) fellowship. He is based at the Disease Control and Elimination Theme at the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He holds a PhD in tropical medicine- entomology/epidemiology, from The University of Liverpool -Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and a postgraduate diploma in planning and management of tropical disease control programmes from the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium.
Opondo’s interest is investigating the transmission potential of insecticide resistant malaria vectors in the wild to provide empirical data to parameterize malaria transmission models. He is also interested in the application of Geographic Information System (GIS) tools to guide malaria control strategies and in simplified communication of science to policy makers, to enable evidence-based decision making.
Project: Impact of insecticide resistance on malaria vector longevity and transmission potential in the wild
Opondo is investigating how insecticide resistance in malaria vectors may impact malaria elimination goals by studying how long the resistant mosquitoes are living in the wild. While it is expected that resistant populations will live longer, laboratory data indicate otherwise. However, his preliminary data from previous work indicate that older resistant mosquitoes in the wild may still be resistant but how long they live is unknown. He is using gene expression studies to estimate how long insecticide resistant and susceptible mosquitoes in The Gambia are living. This will be important because it will help parameterize malaria transmission models specific for The Gambia to allow the National Malaria Control Programme to know exactly how their malaria elimination goals may be impacted by the development of insecticide resistance.
Part of this project will be done in Senegalese villages closer to The Gambia in collaboration with Institute Pasteur Dakar (IPD) to provide additional data on longevity of insecticide resistant malaria vectors. Opondo will spend four months at IPD in Senegal to do his project while learning French and strengthening the collaboration between his institution and IPD.