New project led by Oxford University’s Zoology Department to study the community ecology of the African mosquito vectors of malaria

The Open Philanthropy Project recently announced the award of a $17M grant to the Target Malaria consortium to assist it develop and prepare for the potential deployment of gene drive technologies in mosquitoes to help eliminate malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Deployment will only occur if it is feasible, ethical, safe, approved by the regulatory authorities, and supported by the affected communities.  The grant will support a number of critical research programmes complementary to existing Target Malaria activities.

Target Malaria is a not-for-profit research consortium that aims to develop and share genetic technology for malaria control.  It is led by Professor Austin Burt of Imperial College London and includes scientists, stakeholder engagement teams, risk assessment specialists and regulatory experts from Africa, North America and Europe.  Target Malaria is funded through a programme of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

About $3M of the Open Philanthropy award has been allocated to understanding the community-ecology consequences of reducing in density, or eliminating, the particular mosquito species that transmit malaria to humans.  Fieldwork in Ghana will seek to understand the ecology of these mosquitoes and use modern molecular techniques (such as DNA “barcoding” and metagenomics) to analyse their position in local ecological food webs.

This part of the four-year award will be led out of the Deparment of Zoology, Oxford University in a collaboration with the University of Ghana, Accra.  It will be headed by Professor Charles Godfray assisted by Dr Fred Aboagye-Antwi (Accra), Professor Owen Lewis (Oxford) and Professor Frédéric Tripet (Keele).

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Open Philanthropy ( and their announcement of this award (

The Target Malaria project ( and Imperial College’s announcement of the award (

Oxford University Zoology Department ( and the Godfray lab (