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Our current research applies population survey methods, entomological field sampling, molecular analyses, and GIS to examine seasonal and spatial patterns of disease transmission, identify populations at risk, and evaluate the impact of interventions. We collaborate both locally and internationally with projects based in Canada, Tanzania, Benin and Cote d'Ivoire.

Research Themes

Ixodes scapularis tick
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Emerging vector-borne diseases in eastern Ontario, Canada

Climate and environmental changes are driving the emergence and re-emergence of mosquito- and tick-borne diseases in Canada, including West Nile virus and Lyme disease. The distribution and dynamics of disease vector populations largely define the patterns in disease transmission in terms of where and when human risk of infection occurs. Recognizing this, we are collecting and combining entomological, epidemiological and environmental data using geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial analysis. This allows us to predict potential hotspots of disease transmission and identify socio-ecological determinants of disease risk, in order to inform the targeting of disease surveillance, prevention and control strategies.


We have a number of ongoing projects:

  • "Best practices for urban planning in the context of climate change and emerging tick-borne diseases" aka UPTick (2019-23 and 2023-26), funded by PHAC's Infectious Diseases and Climate Change Fund (visit the project website here)

  • "Landscape ecology of vector-borne diseases", funded by an NSERC Discovery Grant (2019-2026).

  • “Public health risk assessment tools for emerging vector-borne diseases” is funded by grants from CIHR (2016-19 and 2019-23)

  • "Greenbelt Tick Project", funded by the National Capital Commission (NCC) (2021-2023)

  • “Improved early warning for climate change driven emergence of Lyme disease in Eastern Ontario” (2017-20), funded by PHAC


We also conduct research on ticks and Lyme disease risk reduction as active members of the Canadian Lyme Disease Research Network (CLyDRN; funded by CIHR, 2019-2024) and as partners on the citizen surveillance initiative (2019-2023, funded by PHAC), and evaluate intervention strategies for tick management in collaboration with the National Capital Commission.

Rundugai village in northern Tanzania

Malaria epidemiology and control in Tanzania and Cote d'Ivoire

We work with partners at the Pan-African Malaria Vector Research Consortium, including KCMUCo and NIMR in Tanzania, Institut Pierre Richet in Cote d'Ivoire, and LSHTM in the UK to enhance knowledge and tools to improve malaria control.


We recently completed the project "Effectiveness of different types of bi-treated long lasting insecticidal nets for control of malaria transmitted by pyrethroid resistant vectors in Tanzania" (2017-2022). This project is based in North-West Tanzania where malaria is resurgent and where recent evidence from a cluster randomized trial showed that Olyset Plus, a long-lasting net (LN) incorporating a PBO synergist was able to control malaria transmission where standard pyrethroid LN were failing due to insecticide resistance. Several types of bi-treated net incorporating either a synergist or novel insecticide (and evaluated in small scale entomological trials) demonstrate great potential to combat the threat and maintain control of malaria transmitted by resistant mosquitoes in Africa. This 5-year project, funded by the UK Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust Joint Global Health Trials Program, was a cluster randomized trial comparing four vector control interventions involving the most promising new generation LN to prevent malaria in areas where vector mosquitoes are resistant to pyrethroids. These interventions are based on novel bi-treated LNs incorporating mixtures of insecticides or insecticide synergists to improve efficacy. 

Building on the results of the trial in Tanzania, we are currently collaborating on the project "Efficacy of chlorfenapyr-pyrethroid and PBO synergist-pyrethroid long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) compared to pyrethroid-only LLINs for malaria control in Côte d’Ivoire: a three group, cluster-randomised trial" funded by The Global Fund's Net Transition Initiative. This study is based in the department of Tiebissou (Gbeke Region in Lac district) Southern Bouake city, central Côte d’Ivoire, which is characterized by intense indoor malaria transmission and extremely high pyrethroid resistance intensity in the main malaria vectors Anopheles gambiae s.s. and An. coluzzii. This 2-year cluster randomized trial will compare PBO-pyrethroid and chlorfenapyr-pyrethroid LN to a standard py-LLIN to assess the efficacy of next generation nets in this West African setting.

Alongside the bednet trial in Tanzania, members of the INSIGHT Lab have investigated the prevalence of malaria-schistosomiasis co-infections in children, and have collected detailed data on water sources in communities using drone imagery. These data will be used to better understand the risk factors for schistosomiasis infection and the potential for integration of interventions, given the high prevalence in children in Misungwi district.

With growing evidence that parts of Africa are at serious risk for increasing arbovirus outbreaks and malaria spread due to climate change, we are currently developing a new collaborative research agenda on climate change and vector-borne diseases supported by grant funding from CIHR.


Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on malaria control in Benin

Recognizing the far-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on populations globally, we worked with partners at the Centre de Recherche Entomologique (CREC) in Cotonou, Benin, LSHTM, UK, and the Pan-African Malaria Vector Research Consortium, on the project "Assessing the impact of COVID-19 response on malaria control and malaria burden in rural Benin " (2020-2022). The main goal of this research was to understand the strategies being implemented to mitigate COVID-19 spread in Benin and the impact of these efforts on malaria control at the community and health system levels. The project leveraged an ongoing malaria intervention study in the health zone Covè, Zagnanado, Oiunhi in central Benin to generate timely knowledge and inform effective tailoring of malaria control strategies during the COVID-19 response and future health emergencies.

Aedes aegypti mosquito

Zika virus transmission dynamics and mitigation strategies in Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador

In response to the emergence of Zika virus in the Americas, and the health threat that ZIKV and other arboviruses pose to vulnerable populations, we undertook a project from 2016-2020 with Canadian and Latin American partners on the project “Assessing ZIKV transmission dynamics and mitigation strategies: A multidisciplinary approach”, funded by the CIHR-IDRC Canada-Latin America and Caribbean Zika Virus Research Program. Our project aimed to characterize the ecological transmission dynamics of ZIKV and design integrated ZIKV mitigation approaches. To attain this objective, we had two specific aims: (1) To characterize ZIKV vector populations, viral genetic diversity and ecological transmission dynamics in three different eco-epidemiological settings, and predict areas at risk for ZIKV transmission across the LAC region, and (2) to identify a range of integrated ZIKV intervention strategies and assess their predicted comparative effectiveness, economic impact and cost-effectiveness using a multiscale computer simulation model.

Jimma town, Ethiopia

Improving maternal and child health in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality among all countries in Africa and indeed worldwide. The causes of maternal death are largely preventable through early detection and management of complications, however underlying social causes of maternal mortality can cause delays in accessing maternal health care services. To identify barriers and solutions, we worked with partners in Ethiopia on a project funded by the IDRC-CIHR-GAC Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa (IMCHA) program, from 2015-2021. We aimed to evaluate the impact of community-based interventions on maternal healthcare service utilization and maternal and newborn health outcomes. Our study focused on two intervention packages, namely improved maternity waiting areas and training of community and religious leaders, using a cluster-randomized controlled trial design in 24 primary health care units.

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