Dr Michael Delves

Assistant Professor - Wellcome ISSF

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Keppel Street
United Kingdom

I originally studied Biochemistry at Imperial College before completing a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology in 2008. I then moved into the field of malaria transmission research in the Lab of Prof Bob Sinden, playing an instrumental part in establishing the Medicines for Malaria Venture Centre of Excellence at Imperial and developing gold standard high throughput assays for the discovery of new transmission-blocking antimalarial drugs.

In 2018 I moved to LSHTM to begin an independent career focusing on Plasmodium falciparum transmission cell biology and in Feb 2021 I was awarded the MRC Career Development Award Fellowship.


Department of Infection Biology
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases


Malaria Centre


I am co-module organiser for the Molecular + Cell Biology of Infectious Diseases module, Vector Sampling, Identification and Incrimination

module, and also lecture on the Molecular Parasitology and Drug Discovery + AMR modules.


Whereas Plasmodium asexual parasites are responsible for malarial disease symptoms and pathology, it is the male and female gametocyte stages that are responsible for parasite transmission from humans to mosquitoes. Due to their divergent cell biology and different lifestyle choices, gametocytes are insensitive to most antimalarial drugs. This can lead to the unfortunate situation where a malarial patient can be “cured” of their disease symptoms, but still be infectious to mosquitoes, thus allowing the parasite (and drug resistant alleles) to propagate. My overall research goal is to accelerate the discovery of new therapeutics that prevent parasite transmission. To achieve this, I have four ongoing research projects:

1. Using phenotypic imaging to characterise novel transmission blocking molecules

2. How do gametocytes regulate energy metabolism in their quiescent state?

3. What are the biological differences between male and female gametocytes and can these be exploited?

4, Developing new “open source” tools for better P. falciparum gametocyte culture and mosquito transmission.

Research Area
Drug discovery and development
Cell biology
Molecular biology
Disease and Health Conditions

Selected Publications

The antimalarial efficacy and mechanism of resistance of the novel chemotype DDD01034957.
Miguel-Blanco, C; Murithi, JM; Benavente, ED; Angrisano, F; Sala, KA; VAN SCHALKWYK, DA; Vanaerschot, M; Schwach, F; Fuchter, MJ; Billker, O; SUTHERLAND, CJ; CAMPINO, SG; CLARK, TG; Blagborough, AM; Fidock, DA; Herreros, E; Gamo, FJ; Baum, J; DELVES, MJ;
Scientific reports
Fueling Open Innovation for Malaria Transmission-Blocking Drugs: Hundreds of Molecules Targeting Early Parasite Mosquito Stages
DELVES, M; Lafuente-Monasterio, MJ; Upton, L; Ruecker, A; Leroy, D; Gamo, F-J; Sinden, R;
Frontiers in Microbiology
Antimalarial Transmission-Blocking Interventions: Past, Present, and Future.
DELVES, MJ; Angrisano, F; Blagborough, AM;
Trends in parasitology
An inexpensive open source 3D-printed membrane feeder for human malaria transmission studies.
Witmer, K; Sherrard-Smith, E; Straschil, U; Tunnicliff, M; Baum, J; DELVES, M;
Malaria journal
Failure of <i>in vitro</i> differentiation of <i>Plasmodium falciparum</i> gametocytes into ookinetes arises because of poor gamete fertilisation
DELVES, M; Marques, S; Ruecker, A; Straschil, U; Miguel-Blanco, C; López-Barragá, M; Lelièvre, J; Molina, I; Wree, M; Okitsu, S; Winzeler, E; Li, F; Vinetz, J; Sheppard, S; Guedes, J; Guerra, N; Herreros, E; Sinden, R; Baum, J;
Routine in vitro culture of P. falciparum gametocytes to evaluate novel transmission-blocking interventions.
DELVES, MJ; Straschil, U; Ruecker, A; Miguel-Blanco, C; Marques, S; Dufour, AC; Baum, J; Sinden, RE;
Nature protocols
A male and female gametocyte functional viability assay to identify biologically relevant malaria transmission-blocking drugs.
Ruecker, A; Mathias, DK; Straschil, U; Churcher, TS; Dinglasan, RR; Leroy, D; Sinden, RE; DELVES, MJ;
Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Male and female Plasmodium falciparum mature gametocytes show different responses to antimalarial drugs.
DELVES, MJ; Ruecker, A; Straschil, U; Lelièvre, J; Marques, S; López-Barragán, MJ; Herreros, E; Sinden, RE;
Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
A high-throughput assay for the identification of malarial transmission-blocking drugs and vaccines.
DELVES, MJ; Ramakrishnan, C; Blagborough, AM; Leroy, D; Wells, TN C; Sinden, RE;
International journal for parasitology
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