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Staff Profile: Professor David Molyneux PhD DSc Hon FRCP

Appointment: Emeritus Professor and Senior Professorial Fellow

Areas of interest:
David's major research interests were initially in trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) and leishmaniasis and in particular the interaction between parasites and vectors. Latterly,  he has become involved in parasitic and vector borne disease control programmes advising WHO on trypanosomiasis, onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis and malaria control utilising his extensive knowledge of parasitic disease control to offer technical support and advice. During his career he has supervised over 40 PhD and Masters students. David has also been involved in several aspects of, and initiatives on, the impact of change on the distribution of vectors (insect borne diseases) and contributed to books on biodiversity and infectious diseases for the Harvard Medical School and the UN Millennium Assessment. His current activities focus is on advocacy for the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases and the scientific strategies underpinning the policies for these diseases.


David retired as full-time Director of the Lymphatic Filariasis Support Centre (now known as the Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases) in April 2008 but remains in a part-time advisory/advocacy/policy capacity. He is an Emeritus Professor of the University of Liverpool and a Senior Professorial Fellow in the School.

He was Director of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (1991-2000) and Professor of Tropical Health Sciences of The University of Liverpool. Prior to joining the School he was Professor of Biology, Chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences and Dean of Science at the University of Salford where he was a member of Faculty from 1977-91. David graduated (MA, PhD) from Cambridge University in parasitology before embarking on a career in medical entomology and parasitology. His research work was recognised by the award of a DSc from the University of Salford in 1992. He has travelled extensively in Africa as well as the Middle East and Latin America working with, and presenting on, various programmes. He has acted as a consultant to organisations including WHO, FAO, UNDP, CGIAR, the World Bank and the UK government (Department for International Development) and has chaired several WHO Committees on Onchocerciasis, Tropical Diseases and Mosquitoes. He is a member of WHO's Expert Panel on Parasitic Diseases and currently a member of the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on the Neglected Tropical Diseases and Chair of the Capacity Strengthening Working Group of STAG. He is a member of two International Commissions - The International Task Force for Disease Eradication based in the Carter Center, Atlanta and the WHO International Commission for the Eradication of Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm) and has led three International Certification Teams to Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Nigeria in that capacity. He was appointed by WHO/TDR to Chair the Disease Reference Group on Zoonoses and other marginalised diseases of Poverty in 2009. He was Executive Secretary of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis from 2006-2010, a partnership which has provided support to the Global Programme to eliminate the disease. The Programme is active in 53 countries and has provided, since 2000 when the current Centre in Liverpool started some 2 billion treatments.  David’s leadership of the Liverpool Centre  played a key part in the success of the Global Programme.

He has published over 300 papers in learned biological science journals, written over 20 reviews and contributions to books as well as a textbook on trypanosomes and leishmania and the Control of Human Parasitic Diseases. More recently he is an author on several publications on health policy and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in the Lancet, BMJ, New England Journal of Medicine, PLoS Medicine and PLoS NTDs. He has been one of the key advocates in raising the profile of neglected diseases to the extent they are now, one of the key priorities of the World Health Organisation.

David's contribution has been recognised in the award of medals from the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the British Society for Parasitology - both societies of which he has served as President. In 2007 he was awarded the Mackay Medal and in 2014 he was elected an Honorary International by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.In 2013 he also was awarded the Manson Medal of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene,the Society's highest award. .

He has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship of Liverpool John Moores University and an Honorary Doctorate DSc Honoris Causa from Georgetown University, Washington, DC for his contributions to tropical medicine and international health .

He has a comprehensive list of named lectures including the Craig Plenary Lecture at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the David Livingstone Lecture of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. Keynote addresses have been for WHO and at international meetings - in Marseille, Washington, Geneva, Atlanta, Valencia and Jakarta as well at the invitation of WHO to a meeting of the G8/H8 in Rome in 2009.

Recent Publications

Number of items: 81.

Molyneux, David and Taylor, Hugh R. (2015) 'The discovery of ivermectin'. Trends in Parasitology, Vol 31, Issue 1, p. 1.

Martindale, Sarah, Mkwanda, S. Z., Smith, Emma L., Molyneux, David, Stanton, Michelle and Kelly-Hope, Louise (2014) 'Quantifying the physical and socio-economic burden of filarial lymphoedema in Chikwawa District, Malawi'. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Vol 108, Issue 12, pp. 759-767.

Molyneux, David (2014) 'Neglected tropical diseases: now more than just 'other diseases'--the post-2015 agenda'. International Health, Vol 6, Issue 3, pp. 172-180.

Molyneux, David, Hopkins, Adrian, Bradley, Mark H and Kelly-Hope, Louise (2014) 'Multidimensional complexities of filariasis control in an era of large-scale mass drug administration programmes: a can of worms'. Parasites and Vectors, Vol 7, e363.

Okorie, Patricia N., Bockarie, Moses, Molyneux, David and Kelly-Hope, Louise (2014) 'Neglected Tropical Diseases: A Systematic Evaluation of Research Capacity in Nigeria'. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vol 8, Issue 8, e3078.


Selected Publications

  1. Bockarie MJ,Molyneux DH (2009)  The end of lymphatic filariasis.  BMJ; 13, 338:b1686
  2. Peter J Hotez, Alan Fenwick, Lorenzo Savioli, David H Molyneux (2009) Rescuing the bottom billion through control of neglected tropical diseases.  Lancet; Vol.373, 1570-1575
  3. Molyneux DH (2009) 10 years of success in addressing lymphatic filariasis. Lancet; 373 (9663): 529-30
  4. Molyneux DH (2009) Filaria control and elimination: diagnostic, monitoring and surveillance needs. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene; 103 (4): 338-41
  5. Molyneux DH, Hotez PJ, Fenwick A, Newman RD, Greenwood B, Sachs J (2009) Neglected tropical diseases and the Global Fund. Lancet; 373 (9660): 296-7
  6. Kari Stoever, David Molyneux, Peter Hotez, Alan Fenwick (2009) HIV/AIDs, schistosomiasis and girls.  Lancet, Vol.373, 2025-2026
  7. Njenga SM, Wamae CN, Njomo DW, Mwandawiro CS, Molyneux DH (2008) Impact of two rounds of mass treatment with diethylcarbamazine plus albendazole on Wuchereria bancrofti infection and the sensitivity of immunochromatographic test in Malindi, Kenya. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 2008; (10): 1017-24