AITHM James Cook University

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Our highly collaborative multi-disciplinary research group aims to improve vector surveillance and stop transmission of malaria, dengue, Zika and chikungunya globally and with a focus in the Asia-Pacific. Our primary focus on understanding mosquito-borne disease transmission systems, which comprises the interactions between the mosquito vectors, disease pathogens, human hosts and the environment. By characterizing this complex system, our research can be extended to improve vector control programs to eliminate disease transmission.

Our activities range from basic applied research conducted on campus at JCU, through to field based studies focused on understanding the vectors and associated transmission systems, and then translation into policy guidance. The Group is based at the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, on the Cairns campus of James Cook University. Here the facilities include state-of-the-art insectaries, PC2 laboratories and the Mosquito Research Facility (large semi-field structure). Our team conducts field work across the globe including countries in Australia, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. 


  • Understanding the ecology and behaviours of insect vectors of human diseases
  • The underlying broad-scale ecological process influencing malaria and dengue transmission
  • Support evidence-based control of malaria and dengue vectors
  • To improve vector surveillance systems in malaria endemic countries


Technology Identification to Optimize Malaria Vector Surveillance

The proposed investment will undertake an analysis of vector surveillance in priority elimination programs against recommended surveillance practices. This analysis will include evaluations of data, programmatic capacity and technical attributes of the surveillance systems currently in use by NMCPs of selected countries. This assessment will identify gaps/limitations and constraints that impede present surveillance programs from achieving the implementation of best practices.

Funder: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

JCU Mosquito Trap Development

To design and validate traps that are low cost and sensitive enough for Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes that they can be deployed for both SIT release surveillance during suppression and elimination operations, and also for sentinel surveillance after elimination.

Funder: Verily Life Sciences

Protecting north Queensland from the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), an exotic dengue vector

Aedes albopictus, a documented vector of dengue, Zika and chikungunya, is one of the fastest spreading invasive species worldwide, and was first detected in the Torres Strait in 2005. The first purpose of this research is to investigate the ecology, distribution and dispersal of Aedes albopictus on islands within the Torres Strait. Secondly, this project will lay the foundation required to assess the feasibility of Attractive Targeted Sugar Baits (ATSB) to control Aedes albopictus. The research will determine the frequency that mosquitoes sugar feed, a parameter critical to the success of ATSBs. This pilot data will be leveraged for funding to trial the use of ATSBs to control and potentially eliminate Ae. albopictus from the Torres Strait.

Funders: Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation and Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre


Mr Tom Swan

PhD Student

Mr Boni Sebayang

Masters Student


We are grateful for the commitment of all our funders, who enable us to undertake much needed research to improve the surveillance and control of malaria and arboviruses.


Our research program is highly collaborative and would not be possible without the commitment and support of our many research partners.