Imperial College London

Dr Dina Vlachou

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences

Research Fellow



+44 (0)20 7594 1267d.vlachou Website




612Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Dr Dina Vlachou is a molecular biologist with extensive experience in disease vector and parasite genetics and functional genomics. She was trained as a postdoctoral researcher on vector and parasite research in Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (IMBB-FORTH, Crete, Greece) and the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC, Leiden, The Netherlands), respectively. She then joined the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany) as a Marie Curie carrier development fellow to carry out research on functional genomics of mosquito/parasite interactions. 

Her scientific interest is on malaria transmission biology. Malaria is caused by the protozoan parasite Plasmodium that is transmitted between humans by Anopheles mosquitoes. The malaria parasite populations undergo dramatic losses in the mosquito vector due to robust mosquito immune responses, especially during the ookinete-to-oocyst developmental transition in the mosquito midgut. Specific parasite surface proteins are shown to provide resistance to these immune responses. Thus, the mosquito midgut stages of malaria infection offer an attractive system to study host-parasite interactions and are ideal targets for malaria transmission blocking.

Research projects

-Dissecting the mechanisms and characterizing key regulators of parasite development in the mosquito midgut;

-Characterizing malaria parasite molecules involved in parasite-vector interactions and providing resistance to the mosquito immune responses;

-Identifying novel parasite and mosquito targets for transmission blocking.


Bailey AJ, Ukegbu CV, Giorgalli M, Besson TRB, Christophides GK, Vlachou D (2023). Intracellular Plasmodium aquaporin 2 is required for sporozoite production in the mosquito vector and malaria transmission.  PNAS , in press, 12 September 2023

Ukegbu CV, Gomes AR, Giorgalli M, Campos M, Bailey AJ, Besson TRB,  Billker O, *Vlachou D, *Christophides GK (2023). Reverse genetic screen identifies malaria parasite genes required for gametocyte-to-sporozoite development in its mosquito host. Cell Host and Microbe , 13 September 2023

*Equal senior authors

Ukegbu CV, Christophides GK and Vlachou D (2021) Identification of Three Novel PlasmodiumFactors Involved in Ookinete to Oocyst Developmental Transition. Front. Cell. Infect. Microbiol., 15 March 2021

Zannatul Ferdous, Silke Fuchs, Volker Behrends, Nikolaos Trasanidis, Robert M. Waterhouse, Dina Vlachou, George K. Christophides (2021). Anopheles coluzzii stearoyl-CoA desaturase is essential for adult female survival and reproduction upon blood feedingPLOS Pathogens, May 2021

Ukegbu CV, Giorgalli M, Tapanelli S, Rona LDP, Jaye A, Wyer C, Angrisano F, Blagborough AM, Christophides GK and Vlachou D (2020) Plasmodium PIMMS43 is required for ookinete evasion of the mosquito complement-like response and sporogonic development in the oocyst.  PNAS, March 31, 2020 117 (13) 7363-7373.


Epigenetic regulation underlying Plasmodium berghei gene expression during its developmental transition from host to vector (2020) Witmer K,  Fraschka SAK,  Vlachou D,  Bártfai R,  Christophides GK. Sci Rep 10, 6354 (2020).

Ukegbu CV, Akinosoglou KA, Christophides GK, Vlachou D (2017) Plasmodium berghei PIMMS2 Promotes Ookinete Invasion of the Anopheles gambiae Mosquito MidgutINFECTION AND IMMUNITY, Vol: 85, ISSN: 0019-9567

Ukegbu CV, Giorgalli M, Yassine H, Ramirez JL, Taxiarchi C, Barillas-Mury C, Christophides GK, Vlachou D (2017) Plasmodium berghei P47 is essential for ookinete protection from the Anopheles gambiae complement-like response, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, Vol: 7, ISSN: 2045-2322

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Ukegbu CV, Cho J-S, Christophides GK, et al., 2015, Transcriptional silencing and activation of paternal DNA during Plasmodium berghei zygotic development and transformation to oocyst, Cellular Microbiology, Vol:17, ISSN:1462-5822, Pages:1230-1240

Akinosoglou KA, Bushell ESC, Ukegbu CV, et al., 2015, Characterization of Plasmodium developmental transcriptomes in Anopheles gambiae midgut reveals novel regulators of malaria transmission, Cellular Microbiology, Vol:17, ISSN:1462-5814, Pages:254-268

Schlegelmilch T, Vlachou D, 2013, Cell biological analysis of mosquito midgut invasion: the defensive role of the actin-based ookinete hood, Pathogens and Global Health, Vol:107, ISSN:2047-7724, Pages:480-492

Mendes AM, Awono-Ambene PH, Nsango SE, et al., 2011, Infection Intensity-Dependent Responses of Anopheles gambiae to the African Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum, Infection and Immunity, Vol:79, ISSN:0019-9567, Pages:4708-4715

Mendes AM, Schlegelmilch T, Cohuet A, et al., 2008, Conserved mosquito/parasite interactions affect development of Plasmodium falciparum in Africa, PLOS Pathogens, Vol:4, ISSN:1553-7366, Pages:1-12

Waterhouse RM, Kriventseva EV, Meister S, et al., 2007, Evolutionary dynamics of immune-related genes and pathways in disease-vector mosquitoes, Science, Vol:316, ISSN:0036-8075, Pages:1738-1743

Vlachou D, Schlegelmilch T, Runn E, et al., 2006, The developmental migration of Plasmodium in mosquitoes, Current Opinion in Genetics & Development, Vol:16, ISSN:0959-437X, Pages:384-391

Vlachou D, Kafatos FC, 2005, The complex interplay between mosquito positive and negative regulators of Plasmodium development, Current Opinion in Microbiology, Vol:8, ISSN:1369-5274, Pages:415-421

Vlachou D, Schlegelmilch T, Christophides GK, et al., 2005, Functional genomic analysis of midgut epithelial responses in Anopheles during Plasmodium invasion, Current Biology, Vol:15, ISSN:0960-9822, Pages:1185-1195

Vlachou D, Zimmermann T, Cantera R, et al., 2004, Real-time, in vivo analysis of malaria ookinete locomotion and mosquito midgut invasion, Cellular Microbiology, Vol:6, ISSN:1462-5814, Pages:671-685

Christophides GK, Vlachou D, Kafatos FC, 2004, Comparative and functional genomics of the innate immune system in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, Immunological Reviews, Vol:198, ISSN:0105-2896, Pages:127-148

Christophides GK, Zdobnov E, Barillas-Mury C, et al., 2002, Immunity-related genes and gene families in Anopheles gambiae, Science, Vol:298, ISSN:0036-8075, Pages:159-165

Vlachou D, Lycett G, Siden-Kiamos I, et al., 2001, Anopheles gambiae laminin interacts with the P25 surface protein of Plasmodium berghei ookinetes, Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology, Vol:112, ISSN:0166-6851, Pages:229-237

Siden-Kiamos I, Vlachou D, Margos G, et al., 2000, Distinct roles for Pbs21 and Pbs25 in the in vitro ookinete to oocyst transformation of Plasmodium berghei, Journal of Cell Science, Vol:113, ISSN:0021-9533, Pages:3419-3426

Vlachou D, Konsolaki M, Tolias PP, et al., 1997, The autosomal chorion locus of the medfly Ceratitis capitata .1. Conserved synteny, amplification and tissue specificity but sequence divergence and altered temporal regulation, Genetics, Vol:147, ISSN:0016-6731, Pages:1829-1842

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