Ned Walker and team using forensic science in next fight against malaria

A seven-year, $8 million National Institute of Heath sponsored grant will enable medical entomologist Edward “Ned” Walker to continue his work fighting against Malaria in Africa.

July 17, 2017

Medical entomologist Edward “Ned” Walker
Medical entomologist Edward “Ned” Walker.

A seven-year, $8 million National Institute of Heath sponsored grant will enable medical entomologist Edward “Ned” Walker to continue his work fighting against Malaria in Africa. The grant forming a partnership with the University of Malawi College of Medicine, is one of 11 grants in 2017 that support International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research.

Walker’s research on malaria for the last 15 years has been focused on insecticide-treated beds, although he said there were issues with implementing that. Some people did not like using the nets and insecticide resistance is building.

Mosquitos, Walker said, bite certain people more than others. He and collaborators have tried to develop tools to “interrogate” mosquitos.

“After a blood meal, mosquitoes rest on the walls inside the homes,” Walker said. “We collect the mosquitoes and can determine not only if the mosquito has bitten an animal or a human—but can actually pinpoint, using forensic analysis, which individual inside the home the insect has drawn blood from. We can genotype them. And now, we’re developing a tool so we can determine what malaria parasites are also in that blood.”

Read more about the new NIH grant at “CSI Malawi: Using forensic science to "interrogate" mosquitoes”.

By Cameron Macko, IPM Program Communications Assistant

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