Dr Heather Ferguson awarded Zoological Society of London Scientific Medal
The Zoological Society of London has awarded Dr Heather Ferguson the ZSL Scientific Medal.
One of the most prestigious awards in the field, the medal is given to research scientists with no more than 15 years postdoctoral experience for distinguished work in zoology.
Dr Ferguson’s medal is recognition of her pioneering work on the ecology and control of African malaria vectors over the past 12 years, as part of a longstanding research and training partnership with the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) in Tanzania.
Speaking about her award, Dr Ferguson said:
A spokesperson for the ZSL said:
ZSL Secretary Professor Geoff Boxshall FRS added:
Dr Ferguson began her career working on laboratory models of malaria transmission at the University of Edinburgh, investigating the impact of malaria parasites on mosquito vectors, and how this could influence the types of parasite strains that were most likely to be transmitted. This work led her to investigate these issues in the field, with the aim of gaining a better understanding of mosquito vector ecology and behaviour as a strategy for strengthening control measures.
After a short internship at the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology in western Kenya, where she was introduced to field studies of malaria, she moved to Ifakara on a three-year postdoctoral position. There she began an extensive programme of work investigating the ecology and behaviour of African malaria vectors in collaboration with students and scientists, where they were one of the first in the world to develop large-scale "semi-field systems" in which to experimentally study the behaviour and life-history of malaria vectors under highly realistic conditions without risk to any exposure of infection.
Dr Ferguson continued work as a BBSRC David Philips Fellow from 2006-2012 and still maintains a close collaboration with IHI, including involvement with research programmes aiming to develop new tools for mosquito vector surveillance and control.
Over the past couple of years, Dr Ferguson has also expanded her collaborations beyond Tanzania through collaborations with researchers from around the world on a number of different projects related to the epidemiology and control of mosquito borne diseases, including monkey malaria (Plasmodium knowlesi) and the Zika virus.
Dan Haydon, Director of the Institute, said
The award was presented by Professor Sir John Beddington FRS, ZSL President.
Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity whose mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats.
First published: 22 June 2016