Senior Lecturer
Biomedical Sciences
Telephone: (01792) 606148
Room: Academic Office - 503
Fifth Floor
Institute of Life Science 1
Singleton Campus

I aim to improve people's health and livelihoods by developing novel, safe insect pest control technologies. I focus on insects that transmit disease (particularly neglected tropical diseases) and agricultural pests. I am a medical & molecular entomologist with overlapping collaborative interests in host-parasite / host-bacterial interactions, bacterial symbionts of insects, RNA interference, parasitology, innate immunology, molecular microbiology and the exploitation of microbes and insects to support medical advances and food security.

I am a lecturer in the Institute of Life Science in the Medical School, and coordinate teaching modules in infectious disease, parasitology and genetic analysis.
I am a 2015 Welsh Cruciblee. My work is applied and inter-disciplinary, and I welcome new collaborations including those with social scientists, climate modellers, lighting engineers and ecologists.

Areas of Expertise

  • entomology
  • molecular biology
  • medical entomology
  • innate immunity
  • biocontrol
  • invertebrate microbiology


  1. Whitten, M., Walker (neeWhitten), M. Novel RNAi delivery systems in the control of medical and veterinary pests Current Opinion in Insect Science 34 1 6
  2. Whitten, M., Facey, P., Sol, R., Fernández-Martínez, L., Evans, M., Mitchell, J., Bodger, O., Dyson, P., Walker (neeWhitten), M., Del Sol Abascal, R. Symbiont-mediated RNA interference in insects Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 283 1825 20160042
  3. Whitten, M., Dyson, P., Walker (neeWhitten), M. Gene silencing in non-model insects: Overcoming hurdles using symbiotic bacteria for trauma-free sustainable delivery of RNA interference BioEssays 39 3 1600247
  4. Dubovskiy, I., Whitten, M., Yaroslavtseva, O., Greig, C., Kryukov, V., Grizanova, E., Mukherjee, K., Vilcinskas, A., Glupov, V., Butt, T., Walker (neeWhitten), M. Can Insects Develop Resistance to Insect Pathogenic Fungi? PLoS ONE 8 4
  5. Whitten, M., Coates, C., Walker (neeWhitten), M. Re-evaluation of insect melanogenesis research: Views from the dark side Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research 30 4 386 401
  6. Kryukov, V., Yaroslavtseva, O., Whitten, M., Tyurin, M., Ficken, K., Greig, C., Melo, N., Glupov, V., Dubovskiy, I., Butt, T., Walker (neeWhitten), M. Fungal infection dynamics in response to temperature in the lepidopteran insect Galleria mellonella Insect Science
  7. Rogers, D., Whitten, M., Thailayil, J., Soichot, J., Levashina, E., Catteruccia, F., Walker (neeWhitten), M. Molecular and cellular components of the mating machinery in Anopheles gambiae females Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105 49 19389 19395
  8. Whitten, M., Tew, I., Lee, B., Ratcliffe, N., Walker (neeWhitten), M. A Novel Role for an Insect Apolipoprotein (Apolipophorin III) in  -1,3-Glucan Pattern Recognition and Cellular Encapsulation Reactions The Journal of Immunology 172 4 2177 2185
  9. Dubovskiy, I., Grizanova, E., Whitten, M., Mukherjee, K., Greig, C., Alikina, T., Kabilov, M., Vilcinskas, A., Glupov, V., Butt, T., Walker (neeWhitten), M. Immuno-physiological adaptations confer wax moth Galleria mellonella resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis Virulence 7 8 860 870
  10. Grizanova, E., Dubovskiy, I., Whitten, M., Glupov, V., Walker (neeWhitten), M. Contributions of cellular and humoral immunity of Galleria mellonella larvae in defence against oral infection by Bacillus thuringiensis Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 119 40 46

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  • PM-004 Fundamentals of Microbiology & Disease

    This module will provide the student with an overview of the fundamentals of microbiology, its causative role in human disease and the intervention of antimicrobials and antibiotics. The role of immunity and its role in human defence against disease will also be introduced in this module, and how this may be modulated in response to pathogens. Lectures will be accompanied by a practical session in microbiological techniques and an essay with academic support. Mae'r modiwl yma yn rhoi trosolwg i fyfyrwyr o hanfodion mewn microbioleg, ei rôl achosol mewn afiechydon dynol ac ymyrraeth gwrthficrobaidd a gwrthfiotig. Caiff rôl imiwnedd a'i rôl mewn amddiffyn dyn yn erbyn afiechydon, a sut mae'n addasu mewn ymateb i bathogenau ei gyflwyno hefyd yn y modiwl yma. Caiff y darlithoedd eu cyfeilio gan sesiynau ymarferol mewn technegau microbiolegol a traethawd efo cefnogaeth academaidd.

  • PM-120 Skills for Geneticists I

    This module is designed to develop the skills required for students of genetics and medical genetics. Students will meet with tutors and be given a series of assignments designed to develop skills in key areas such as essay writing, presentations and general numeracy. Joint sessions will cover generic skills such as internet searching for scientific sources, referencing and plagiarism.

  • PM-250 Infectious Disease and Parasitology

    The course will build on the fundamentals of microbiology and introduce new topics in bacteriology, mycology and parasitology. Level 5 Immunology (PM-249) is a pre-requisite. The course covers the fundamentals of infectious diseases, including clinical aspects, treatment / prevention, and experimental approaches to the study of infectious and parasitic organisms. The course will also cover topics including disease outbreaks, beneficial parasites, tropical disease and behaviour-modifying parasites.

  • PM-250C Clefydau Heintus a Pharasitoleg

    Bydd y cwrs yn adeiladu ar sylfeini microbioleg ac yn cyflwyno pynciau newydd ym meysydd bacterioleg, mycoleg a pharasitoleg. Mae Imiwnoleg Lefel 5 (PM-249) yn rhagofyniad. Mae'r cwrs yn ymdrin ag egwyddorion sylfaenol clefydau heintus, gan gynnwys agweddau clinigol, triniaeth/atal, ac ymagweddau arbrofol at astudio organebau heintus a pharasitig. Bydd y cwrs hefyd yn ymdrin â phynciau gan gynnwys achosion o glefydau, parasitiaid buddiol, clefydau trofannol a pharasitiaid sy'n effeithio ar ymddygiad.

  • PM-304 Biomolecular Research Project


  • PM-315 Skills For Geneticists III

    The module aims to develop the student¿s ability to critically analyse and synthesise advanced research topics in genetics and molecular biology, and their oral and written scientific presentation skills.

  • PM-315C Sgiliau ar gyfer Genetegwyr III

    Amcan y modiwl yw datblygu gallu'r myfyriwr i ddadansoddi'n feirniadol a syntheseiddio pynciau ymchwil uwch ym maes geneteg a bioleg foleciwlaidd, ac i feithrin eu sgiliau cyflwyno gwyddonol llafar ac ysgrifenedig.


  • Using symbiotic Asaia spp. to produce interfering RNA’s within mosquito hosts in order to interrupt blood feeding ability.«br /»«br /»«br /» (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Miranda Walker (Neewhitten)
    Other supervisor: Prof Paul Dyson
  • 'Post Transcriptional gene silencing of Trypanosoma brucei brucei through endocytosis of dsRNA' (awarded 2018)

    Other supervisor: Dr Miranda Walker (Neewhitten)
    Other supervisor: Prof Paul Dyson

Research Groups

  • Microbes & Immunity

    My research is part of Swansea University School of Medicine's Microbes and Immunity theme. I am also coordinator of the Microbes & Immunity Seminar Series. Please contact me ( if you have a suggestion for a seminar.

  • Applied Molecular Microbiology Group

    I am a member of the academic and research staff contributing to the Applied Molecular Microbiology Group in Swansea University's Medical School. My speciality is in the manipulation of insect symbionts with a view to reducing the transmission of insect-vectored diseases, and controlling agricultural insect pests.

Research as Art - winning images

New Tools from Insect Poo






New Tools from Insect Poo (2013)

read the story here:

The Mosquito Inkblot Test




The Mosquito Inkblot Test (2015)

Read about the Swansea University's Research as Art competition, and more about this image at: