Keele University malaria research.
Dr Roberto Galizi in his laboratory at Keele University's School of Life Sciences.

Foundation set up by Bill and Melinda Gates provides $750,000 grant for Keele’s groundbreaking malaria research

1 min read

A project led by Staffordshire scientists to help control and eliminate malaria has received $750,000 backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The grant has been received by Keele University to support its research into the disease, which still causes hundreds of thousands of death every year, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

The $750,000 will help fund work spearheaded by Dr Roberto Galizi from Keele’s School of Life Sciences, in collaboration with the Sharakhov Laboratory at Virginia Tech (USA), to advance the understanding of the specific genes regulating mosquito reproduction. 

This will help the scientists finetune their ability to edit genes within specific cells of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes – a species that can transmit malaria to humans – as a means of controlling their populations.  

Dr Galizi said: “Understanding how and when genes are regulated in mosquitoes is crucial to develop efficient methods to control the few species that are able to spread diseases.

“Malaria is still causing tremendous devastation in sub-Saharan Africa and demands new and more efficient tools to work towards global elimination that we are all hoping to achieve soon.

“This funding will enable us to develop and apply advanced approaches to increase precision and effectiveness of gene editing in insects to impair their ability to reproduce or transmit pathogens.

“We’re enormously grateful to the Gates Foundation for their support and we are excited to initiate this work at Keele with the support of some outstanding collaborators.” 

Malaria is a vector-borne disease transmitted through the bite of infected female mosquitoes.

Only a few specific species are able to transmit parasites from infected to non-infected humans. By introducing or altering specific genetic sequences in the insects, scientists can reduce their ability to reproduce or transmit disease.

Nigel Pye

Experienced journalist with a 30-year career in the newspaper and PR industry and a proven record for breaking stories for the national and international press. Nigel is the Editor of Daily Focus and Head of Creative at i-creation. Other work includes scriptwriting, magazine and video production, crisis communications and TV and radio broadcasts.

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