Staff Profile: Charles Wondji
Appointment: Senior Wellcome Trust Research Fellow
Areas of interest: Mosquito biology, insecticide resistance, mosquito genomics, quantitative genetics (genetic and Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) mapping), population genetics
I did my PhD from 2000 to 2003 in Cameroon with the French research Institute IRD, working on the population genetics of the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae complex in Cameroon. I later moved in 2004 to the vector group of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine as a postdoctoral research associate to study the genetics and molecular basis of insecticide resistance in Anopheles funestus. Since 2008 I am a Wellcome Trust Research career development fellow.
I am the convenor of the Master module TROP741 (Vector population biology and Control) and I sit on the board of studies and the exam board of the joint master programme. I participate in the teaching of the BSc programme in Tropical Biology (University of Liverpool), the joint Masters programmes in Biology and Control of Parasites and Disease Vectors/Molecular Biology of Parasites and Disease Vectors and the Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (DTMH) at LSTM.
My main research interest is the understanding of the biology, genetics and genomics of mosquitoes vectors tropical diseases such as Malaria, Lymphatic Filariasis and Dengue. I primarily work on Anopheles funestus, one of the major malaria vectors in Africa which, because of the difficulty of rearing it in laboratory, is less studied than Anopheles gambiae. I am currently studying the mechanisms of insecticide resistance in field populations of An. funestus using a genetic mapping approach (Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) mapping), functional genomics (microarray, RNAseq) and functional analyses (GAL4/UAS transgenic expression of mosquito genes in Drosophila, the heterologous expression of candidate genes in E. coli to confirm their ability to confer resistance and RNAi. My aim is to use this knowledge to develop simple molecular assays to detect resistance in field populations. This will greatly facilitate the management of insecticide resistance in Africa. I am also developing new genomic tools for this species using Next-generation sequencing.
I also have a more general interest in insect genetics and genomics including population genetics studies in mosquito species; investigation of insecticide resistance mechanisms in other malaria vectors (An. arabiensis and An. gambiae) and in the dengue vectors Aedes aegypti and Ae albopictus and the Lymphatic filariasis vector Culex quinquefasciatus.
Postdoctoral Research Assistant: Dr Jacob Riveron since 2011, working on the functional genomics notably the confirmation of the role of detoxification genes in conferring resistance using GAL4/UAS transgenic expression system and heterologous
PhD students currently registered at LSTM:
Ibrahim Sulaiman 2nd year PhD, Topic: Functional characterisation of detoxification genes in Anopheles funestus
Miranda Ndula 3rd year of PhD, Topic: Population genetics of insecticide resistance in An. funestus
Intan Haslina Ishak, 3rd year of PhD, Topic: Insecticide resistance profiles of the Dengue vectors Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus in Malaysia
Kayla Barnes 2nd Year of PhD, Topic: Characterisation of the insecticide resistance front in Southern African populations of Anopheles funestus
Overseas PhD student
Badara Samb, MCDC student, 3rd year PhD Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar, Senegal,
Benjamin Menze, OCEAC, Cameroon/LSTM
Past Master students
Charles Mulamba, Master awarded in 2012
Ghouma Salha, Master awarded in 2011, LSTM
Siyu Chai, Master awarded in 2012, LSTM
Naomi Platt, Master awarded 2010, LSTM
Rachel Kwiatkowska, Master awarded 2010, LSTM
Deusdedit Tusubira, Master awarded 2005, LSTM
Past PhD students:
Angela Harris: PhD awarded 2011, co-supervised with Prof Hilary Ranson
Claudia Witzig, PhD awarded 2012, co-supervised with Prof Hilary Ranson
Current projects and grants
Sponsor of a Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellowship in Public health and Tropical Medicine to Rousseau Djouaka: Investigating patterns of Pyrethroids and DDT resistance in Anopheles funestus populations in Benin: study of the distribution, resistance mechanisms and investigation on novel resistance management strategies. £288.000 (2013-2016)
Wellcome Trust enhancement award: Fine-scale analysis of candidate genes associated with pyrethroid resistance in the malaria vector Anopheles funestus by target enrichment Next-Generation Sequencing (2012-2013) £88.000
Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship
Title: Characterization of pyrethroid resistance in field populations of the malaria vector
Anopheles funestus: £678834 (2008-2013)
Co-sponsor (with Prof Ranson) for a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellowship in Public health and Tropical Medicine to Dr Antonio Nkondjio Title: Impact of urbanisation on malaria vectors population dynamic in two major cities of Cameroon: £363,588 (2009-2014)
Sponsor for a Wellcome Trust master Fellowship in Public health and Tropical Medicine to Charles Mulamba Title: Characterisation of insecticide resistance in Ugandan populations of Anopheles funestus, major malaria vector 2010-2013 Cameroon: £100,343
Sponsor for a Wellcome Trust master Fellowship in Public health and Tropical Medicine to Benjamin Menze Title: Investigating patterns of insecticide resistance in Central African populations of Anopheles funestus, a, major malaria; 2011-2014; £103,000
Two years Molecular entomology TDR/WHO grant, co-P.I with Hilary Ranson and John Vontas 2004 – 2006, “A functional genomics approach to improve insecticide resistance detection in Anopheles gambiae”. £50000
Two years Re-entry grant TDR/WHO 2004 - 2006, P.I. “Molecular and bio-ecological basis of the speciation between M and S molecular forms of An. gambiae: Impact on malaria transmission and insecticide resistance”. £25000
Two year TDR/WHO grant «Research Training Grant» (2001-2003), “Impact of impregnated bed nets on genetic structure of malaria vectors in an area of irrigated rice-fields in North-Cameroon”. £7500
Claudia Witzig, Wondji CS, Strode C, Djouaka R and Ranson H. (2013) Identifying permethrin resistance loci in malaria vectors by genetic mapping. Parasitology: 1-10.
Jacob M. Riveron, Helen Irving, Miranda Ndula, Kayla G Barnes, Sulaiman Ibrahim, Nelson Cuamba, John C. Morgan, Mark Paine and Charles S. Wondji (2013). Directionally selected P450 alleles are driving resistance to pyrethroids in populations of the malaria vector Anopheles funestus in Africa. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110(1): 252-257.
Rachel M. Kwiatkowska, Naomi Platt, Rodolphe Pourpardin, Helen, Irving, Roch Dabire, Sara Mitchell, Chris Jones, Abdoulaye Diabaté, Hilary Ranson and Charles S. Wondji (2013) Dissecting molecular mechanisms of multiple insecticide resistance in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, M form, from Vallee du Kou, Burkina faso. GENE In Press.
Claudia Witzig, Matthew Parry, John C. Morgan, Helen Irving, Andrew Steven, Nelson Cuamba, Clement Kerah-Hinzoumbé, Hilary Ranson and Charles S. Wondji (2013) Genetic mapping identifies a major locus spanning P450 clusters associated with pyrethroid resistance in kdr-free Anopheles arabiensis from Chad. Heredity (edinb)
Charles S. Wondji, Michael Coleman, Immo Kleinschmidt, Themba Mzilahowa, Helen Irving, Miranda Ndula, Andrea M Rehman, John Morgan, Kayla Barnes, and Janet Hemingway (2012). The impact of pyrethroid resistance on operational malaria control. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109, 19063-19070.
Irving H, Riveron JM, Ibrahim SS, Lobo NF, Wondji CS (2012) Positional cloning of rp2 QTL associates the P450 genes CYP6Z1, CYP6Z3 and CYP6M7 with pyrethroid resistance in the malaria vector Anopheles funestus. Heredity (Edinb) 109, 383-392.
Dabiré K. R. Diabaté A. NM, Djogbenou L. , Wondji C., Chandre F., Simard F. , Ouédraogo J-B. , Martin T., Weill M. and Baldet T.: Trends in Insecticide Resistance in Natural Populations of Malaria Vectors in Burkina Faso, West Africa: 10 Years’ Surveys. Pest Engineering 2012:479-502.
Gregory, R., Darby, A.C., Irving, H., Coulibaly, M.B., Hughes, M., Koekemoer, L.L., Coetzee, M., Ranson, H., Hemingway, J., Hall, N., Wondji, C.S (2011). A De Novo Expression Profiling of Anopheles funestus, Malaria Vector in Africa, Using 454 Pyrosequencing. PLoS One 6, e17418.
Wondji, C.S., Dabire, R.K., Tukur, Z., Irving, H., Djouaka, R., Morgan, J.C. (2011). Identification and distribution of a GABA receptor mutation conferring dieldrin resistance in the malaria vector Anopheles funestus in Africa. Insect Biochem Mol Biol 41, 484-491.
Djouaka, R., Irving, H., Tukur, Z., Wondji, C.S. (2011). Exploring Mechanisms of Multiple Insecticide Resistance in a Population of the Malaria Vector Anopheles funestus in Benin. PLoS One 6, e27760.
Arensburger, P., Megy, K., Waterhouse, R.M., Abrudan, J., Amedeo, P., Antelo, B., Bartholomay, L., Bidwell, S., Caler, E., Camara, F., Campbell, C.L., Campbell, K.S., Casola, C., Castro, M.T., Chandramouliswaran, I., Chapman, S.B., Christley, S., Costas, J., Eisenstadt, E., Feschotte, C., Fraser-Liggett, C., Guigo, R., Haas, B., Hammond, M., Hansson, B.S., Hemingway, J., Hill, S.R., Howarth, C., Ignell, R., Kennedy, R.C., Kodira, C.D., Lobo, N.F., Mao, C., Mayhew, G., Michel, K., Mori, A., Liu, N., Naveira, H., Nene, V., Nguyen, N., Pearson, M.D., Pritham, E.J., Puiu, D., Qi, Y., Ranson, H., Ribeiro, J.M., Roberston, H.M., Severson, D.W., Shumway, M., Stanke, M., Strausberg, R.L., Sun, C., Sutton, G., Tu, Z.J., Tubio, J.M., Unger, M.F., Vanlandingham, D.L., Vilella, A.J., White, O., White, J.R., Wondji, C.S., Wortman, J., Zdobnov, E.M., Birren, B., Christensen, B.M., Collins, F.H., Cornel, A., Dimopoulos, G., Hannick, L.I., Higgs, S., Lanzaro, G.C., Lawson, D., Lee, N.H., Muskavitch, M.A., Raikhel, A.S. and Atkinson, P.W. (2010) Sequencing of Culex quinquefasciatus establishes a platform for mosquito comparative genomics. Science 330, pp. 86-88.
Antonio-Nkondjio, C., Fossog, B.T., Ndo, C., Djantio, B.M., Togouet, S.Z., Awono-Ambene, P., Costantini, C., Wondji, C.S. and Ranson, H. (2011) Anopheles gambiae distribution and insecticide resistance in the cities of Douala and Yaounde (Cameroon): influence of urban agriculture and pollution. Malar J 10, p. 154.
Morgan JC, Irving H, Okedi LM, Steven A, Wondji CS (2010) Pyrethroid resistance in an Anopheles funestus population from Uganda. PLoS One 5: e11872.
Cuamba N, Morgan JC, Irving H, Steven A, Wondji CS (2010) High level of pyrethroid resistance in an Anopheles funestus population of the Chokwe District in Mozambique. PLoS One 5: e11010.
Wondji CS, Irving H, Morgan J, Lobo NF, Collins FH, Hunt RH, Coetzee M, Hemingway J, Ranson H: Two duplicated P450 genes are associated with pyrethroid resistance in Anopheles funestus, a major malaria vector. Genome Research 2009, 19(3):452-459.
Strode C, Wondji CS, David JP, Hawkes NJ, Lumjuan N, Nelson DR, Drane DR, Karunaratne SH, Hemingway J, Black WCt et al: Genomic analysis of detoxification genes in the mosquito Aedes aegypti Insect Biochem Mol Biol 2008, 38(1):113-123.
Wondji CS, Priyanka De Silva WA, Hemingway J, Ranson H, Parakrama Karunaratne SH: Characterization of knockdown resistance in DDT- and pyrethroid-resistant Culex quinquefasciatus populations from Sri Lanka. Trop Med Int Health 2008, 13(4):548-555.
Wondji CS, Hemingway J, Ranson H (2007a) Identification and analysis of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in the mosquito Anopheles funestus, malaria vector. BMC Genomics 8: 5.
Wondji CS, Morgan JC, Coetzee M, Hunt R, Steen K, Black WC, Hemingway J, Ranson H (2007b) Mapping a Quantitative Trait Locus conferring pyrethroid resistance in the African malaria vector Anopheles funestus. BMC Genomics 8: 34.
Wondji, C.S., R.H. Hunt, P. Pignatelli, K. Steen, M. Coetzee, N. Besansky, N. Lobo, F.H. Collins, J. Hemingway, and H. Ranson. 2005. An integrated genetic and physical map for the malaria vector Anopheles funestus. Genetics 171: 1779-1787.
Wondji, C., F. Simard, T. Lehmann, E. Fondjo, A. Same-Ekobo, and D. Fontenille. 2005. Impact of insecticide-treated bed nets implementation on the genetic structure of Anopheles arabiensis in an area of irrigated rice fields in the Sahelian region of Cameroon. Mol Ecol 14: 3683-3693.
Wondji, C., S. Frederic, V. Petrarca, J. Etang, F. Santolamazza, A. Della Torre, and D. Fontenille. 2005. Species and populations of the Anopheles gambiae complex in Cameroon with special emphasis on chromosomal and molecular forms of Anopheles gambiae s.s. J Med Entomol 42: 998-1005.
Wondji, C., Simard, F. and Fontenille, D. Evidence for genetic differentiation between the molecular forms M and S within the Forest chromosomal form of Anopheles gambiae in an area of sympatry. Insect Mol Biol 11 (2002), pp. 11-9.
Platt, N., Kwiatkowska, R.M., Irving, Helen, Diabaté, A, Dabire, R and Wondji, Charles (2015) 'Target-site resistance mutations (kdr and RDL), but not metabolic resistance, negatively impact male mating competiveness in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae'. Heredity. (In Press)
Antonio-Nkondjio, Christophe, Tene Fossog, Billy, Kopya, Edmond, Poumachu, Yacouba, Menze Djantio, Benjamin, Ndo, Cyrille, Tchuinkam, Timoléon, Awono-Ambene, Parfait and Wondji, Charles (2015) 'Rapid evolution of pyrethroid resistance prevalence in Anopheles gambiae populations from the cities of Douala and Yaoundé (Cameroon)'. Malaria Journal, Vol 14, e155.
Ishak, Intan H., Jaal, Zairi, Ranson, Hilary and Wondji, Charles (2015) 'Contrasting patterns of insecticide resistance and knockdown resistance (kdr) in the dengue vectors Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus from Malaysia'. Parasites & Vectors, Vol 8, e181.
Riveron Miranda, Jacob, Mulamba, Charles, Ibrahim, Sulaiman S., Irving, Helen, Barnes, Kayla G., Mukwaya, Louis G., Birungi, Josephine and Wondji, Charles (2014) 'Widespread Pyrethroid and DDT Resistance in the Major Malaria Vector Anopheles funestus in East Africa Is Driven by Metabolic Resistance Mechanisms'. PLoS ONE, Vol 9, Issue 10, e110058.
Riveron Miranda, Jacob, Ibrahim, Sulaiman S., Chanda, Emmanuel, Mzilahowa, Themba, Cuamba, Nelson, Irving, Helen, Barnes, Kayla, Ndula, Miranda and Wondji, Charles (2014) 'The highly polymorphic CYP6M7 cytochrome P450 gene partners with the directionally selected CYP6P9a and CYP6P9b genes to expand the pyrethroid resistance front in the malaria vector Anopheles funestus in Africa'. BMC Genomics, Vol 15, Issue 1, p. 817.