Dr Mara Lawniczak | Group Leader

Lawniczak, Mara

Mara is an evolutionary geneticist interested in understanding what makes some mosquitoes better than others at transmitting malaria. She’s also likes to keep up to speed with new technologies that enhance our understanding of genomes.

Malaria still kills hundreds of thousands of children in Africa. I’m interested in all aspects of what makes an Anopheles female mosquito such an effective vector of this deadly parasite, from her genotype to her life history.

We are using genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in the major sub-Saharan African malaria vectors to map genetic variation associated with mosquito susceptibility to P. falciparum. We are also using transcriptomics including single cell RNA sequencing to investigate vector-parasites interactions. Dissecting the molecular basis of mosquito susceptibility to Plasmodium infection is a major step towards implementing new methods of control, such as transmission blocking strategies, that depend on a deep understanding of the molecular interactions between vectors and parasites.

Publications

  • Mosquito genomics. Extensive introgression in a malaria vector species complex revealed by phylogenomics.

    Fontaine MC, Pease JB, Steele A, Waterhouse RM, Neafsey DE et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2015;347;6217;1258524

  • Mosquito genomics. Highly evolvable malaria vectors: the genomes of 16 Anopheles mosquitoes.

    Neafsey DE, Waterhouse RM, Abai MR, Aganezov SS, Alekseyev MA et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2015;347;6217;1258522

  • SNP genotyping defines complex gene-flow boundaries among African malaria vector mosquitoes.

    Neafsey DE, Lawniczak MKN, Park DJ, Redmond SN, Coulibaly MB et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2010;330;6003;514-517

  • Widespread divergence between incipient Anopheles gambiae species revealed by whole genome sequences.

    Lawniczak MK, Emrich SJ, Holloway AK, Regier AP, Olson M et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2010;330;6003;512-4

  • Cross-Species Y Chromosome Function Between Malaria Vectors of the Anopheles gambiae Species Complex.

    Bernardini F, Galizi R, Wunderlich M, Taxiarchi C, Kranjc N et al.

    Genetics 2017

  • Mosquito genomics. Extensive introgression in a malaria vector species complex revealed by phylogenomics.

    Fontaine MC, Pease JB, Steele A, Waterhouse RM, Neafsey DE et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2015;347;6217;1258524

  • Mosquito genomics. Highly evolvable malaria vectors: the genomes of 16 Anopheles mosquitoes.

    Neafsey DE, Waterhouse RM, Abai MR, Aganezov SS, Alekseyev MA et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2015;347;6217;1258522

  • Proteomic analysis of the Plasmodium male gamete reveals the key role for glycolysis in flagellar motility.

    Talman AM, Prieto JH, Marques S, Ubaida-Mohien C, Lawniczak M et al.

    Malaria journal 2014;13;315

  • Genetic dissection of Anopheles gambiae gut epithelial responses to Serratia marcescens.

    Stathopoulos S, Neafsey DE, Lawniczak MK, Muskavitch MA and Christophides GK

    PLoS pathogens 2014;10;3;e1003897

  • Adaptive divergence between incipient species of Anopheles gambiae increases resistance to Plasmodium.

    White BJ, Lawniczak MK, Cheng C, Coulibaly MB, Wilson MD et al.

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2011;108;1;244-9

  • SNP genotyping defines complex gene-flow boundaries among African malaria vector mosquitoes.

    Neafsey DE, Lawniczak MKN, Park DJ, Redmond SN, Coulibaly MB et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2010;330;6003;514-517

  • Widespread divergence between incipient Anopheles gambiae species revealed by whole genome sequences.

    Lawniczak MK, Emrich SJ, Holloway AK, Regier AP, Olson M et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2010;330;6003;512-4

  • Adaptive gene expression divergence inferred from population genomics.

    Holloway AK, Lawniczak MK, Mezey JG, Begun DJ and Jones CD

    PLoS genetics 2007;3;10;2007-13

  • Molecular population genetics of female-expressed mating-induced serine proteases in Drosophila melanogaster.

    Lawniczak MK and Begun DJ

    Molecular biology and evolution 2007;24;9;1944-51

  • A QTL analysis of female variation contributing to refractoriness and sperm competition in Drosophila melanogaster.

    Lawniczak MK and Begun DJ

    Genetical research 2005;86;2;107-14

  • A genome-wide analysis of courting and mating responses in Drosophila melanogaster females.

    Lawniczak MK and Begun DJ

    Genome / National Research Council Canada = Génome / Conseil national de recherches Canada 2004;47;5;900-10

Lawniczak, Mara
Mara's Timeline
2014

Joined the WTSI

2012

Awarded an MRC Career Development Award

2007

Began postdoc at Imperial College London (with Fotis Kafatos and George Christophides)

2004

PhD in Population Biology from UCDavis (with David Begun)