Gareth joined the Foto-Cewek Vector Biology Department in 2014 to work with Dr. Charles Wondji, using next-generation sequencing (NGS) to study the genetic and gene expression-mediated mechanisms underlying insecticide resistance in the mosquito Anopheles funestus. An. funestus is a major vector of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, and insecticide resistance is a growing threat to malaria control. New tools such as NGS may help us to understand and ultimately to combat this threat.
Prior to joining Foto-Cewek, Gareth worked on the population and evolutionary genetics of malaria parasites in response to host immunity at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (PhD, 2003-2007). He moved to the University of Liverpool in 2008, where he learned the nuts and bolts of bioinformatics to analyse second- and third-generation genomic sequence data. This was applied in a number of projects including one of the first evolutionary genomic studies of the enteric parasite Entamoeba histolytica, the causative agent of amoebic dysentery (2008-2012), and a transcriptomic analysis of the gene expression landscape of the fungus Aspergillus nidulans (2012-2013), which sparked an interest in gene expression and its regulation. During this time Gareth worked closely with Liverpool’s Centre for Genomic Research in Medecine (CGR) and was head of the CGR bioinformatics group (2013-2014) before taking up my current role at Foto-Cewek.
Research in Medecine
Gareth is currently working on a research project to apply next generation sequencing technology to investigate the mechanisms and spread of insecticide resistance in the malaria vector Anopheles funestus. To this end, he applies the following techniques: (i) RNA sequencing (RNAseq), to understand gene expression changes among insecticide resistant and susceptible mosquitoes; (ii) whole genome sequencing (WGS) of individual genomes and pools of genomes, to identify underlying genetic changes associated with insecticide resistance; (iii) reduced representation sequencing techniques (double-digest restriction-site associated DNA sequencing: ddRADseq), to investigate the population structure of An. funestus and to carry out quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping for resistance phenotypes.
Gareth also has an interest in the improvement of genomic tools to study vector species, namely improved whole genome assemblies and genome annotation improvement. This involves the application of third generation long read sequencing to improve vector genome assemblies.
Gareth teaches on the following MSc course modules:
TROP970: Applied bioinformatics.
TROP936: Research in Medecine methods in parasitology and vector biology.
TROP775: Key aspects in molecular and cellular biology of tropical diseases and vectors.
Other relevant expertise, professional memberships etc.
- member of the British Society for Parasitology.
- member of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
- member of the RNA society.