Dr Marta Maia


Dr Marta Maia

Principal investigator

Research group: Vector control


I am a medical entomologist, with background in veterinary medicine, based at KEMRI Wellcome Trust in Kilfii since 2016. Before joining the programme I worked as a postdoctoral scientist and PI at the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania investigating spatial repellents, topical repellents, attractive targeted sugar baits (ATSBs), plant-based repellents, mosquito attractants, as well as near infrared spectroscopy for surveillance of mosquito vectors. I am interested in understanding the ecology and behavior of malaria vector populations in response to new interventions as well as the development of new tools for characterizing and monitoring vector populations.  

My research combines laboratory, insectary, and field-based experiments to develop and test novel malaria vector control and surveillance tools. My group is currently researching ivermectin as an endectocide for malaria vector control through mass drug administration campaigns in East and Southern Africa. In addition, we are also investigating the prevalence of Microsporidia MB infection in wild malaria vector populations of Kenya and their associated microbiota of as part of the ANTIVEC Network. My group is also furthering the use of MALDI-TOF MS (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight) as a high-throughput and low-cost/per sample method for determining entomological traits of epidemiological importance. 


Main research outputs/major highlights:  Other scientific achievements Teaching 
  • Vector Control Session, Masters in International Health and Tropical, University of Oxford. 
  • Primer in Systematic Reviews of Interventional studies 
Advisory Committees 
  • Invited member of the WellcomeTrust International Interview Committee 
  • Expert Committee Member of Malaria Elimination Research Alliance (MERA)-India 
Journal editor 
  • Editor for Scientific Reports 
  • Associate Editor for Frontiers in Tropical Medicine 
  • Associate Editor for Parasites & Vectors 
Members of research group 
  • Caroline Wanjiku, Post-doc: Caroline is a molecular entomologist, she oversees the groups laboratory activities and provides student supervision. Caroline is a medical entomologist with excellent molecular skills, experience in GCMS and research on odours and mosquito olfactory response. 
  • Jonathan Karisa, PhD student: Jonathan is a PhD candidate registered with the Open University UK, he is developing MALDI-TOF MS as a platform for measuring entomological traits of epidemiological importance including species, blood meal source, infection status and age. 
  • Yvonne Kamau, ARO/MSc student: Yvonne is coordinating a clinical trial comparing the pharmacokinetics of different doses of ivermectin for malaria vector control. She is registered for an MSc in Public Health at the University of Nairobi. 
  • Kelly Ominde, ARO: Kelly supports the research team in the lab and in the insectary and has been instrumental in the development of an assay for monitoring ivermectin bio-efficacy in the field. He is also involved in PK/PD trial laboratory as the lab-based ARO. 
  • Martha Muturi, Insectary lab manager: Martha manages the KWTRP insectary where she rears Anopheles gambiae s.s. (Kilifi strain) which are used for the various insectary-based experiments. She supports experiments and helps train students on insectary related duties.