Imperial College London

Dr Roya E Haghighat-Khah

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences

Honorary Research Associate







Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





I am an expert in developing and applying new molecular, genetic and genomic approaches to address the unmet needs for the control of infectious diseases. I have a proven track record of providing key insights into infectious diseases, including malaria, dengue fever and COVID-19, delivering global life-saving impacts, and routinely providing scientific advice to policy-makers in the UK and international organisations on public health matters.

I have made a number of scientific contributions:

•developed pioneering technologies based on modifying and assessing gene expression (RNA) in Dengue fever and Zika virus mosquitoes (Highly Commended DPhil Thesis)

•identified cellular/molecular mechanisms for a novel genetic malaria control strategy (as senior research associate of the Target Malaria research consortium focussing on gene drives)

•conceived and lead a pioneering study to evaluate the feasibility of transferring these technologies to control snail-transmitted disease through RNA assessment of pathogen transmission organs using RNAseq analysis and Whole Genome Sequencing with Oxford Nanopore Technology (Research England GCRF)

•conceived and lead a pilot clinical study for analysis of COVID-19 patient mucosal swabs for characterisation of severity biomarkers for implementation into existing national COVID-19 diagnostic methods (Imperial College ‘Seeds for Success’ award and Research England GCRF).

I am also the appointed Quality Label Manager and Work Package Co-leader for an international consortium of 24 partners (Infravec2), developing pioneering workflows and protocols for insect disease vector research and control, for dissemination to the global scientific community.

I actively advised the UK government on COVID-19 and have been acknowledged formally for my contribution. I recently joined an expert task force to assess the safety of tourists planning to stay at the Colca y Volcanes de Andagua UNESCO Global Geopark (Peru) and forecast changes in the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

Since 2013, I have been an Invited Guest Lecturer (Uni. of Westminster; Kingston Uni. London) and have lectured/ provided academic tutorials at Imperial College London (ICL) on infectious diseases and their control to 3rd year undergraduates. I received the Head of Department of Life Sciences Citizenship Award (Imperial College London, 2020) for my outstanding contributions to create a diverse and inclusive collegiate working environment, and I have mentored prospective Widening Participation students to maximise their chances of success.

In March 2020 I led the college-wide COVID-19 effort to develop a database of volunteers for urgent re-deployment for COVID-19 efforts. I have also coordinated numerous outreach and engagement events on infectious diseases for widening participation students, the general public, policy-makers and members of parliament in the UK and internationally (including securing financial support from ICL cross-departmental sources for these events). 



Vitale M, Leo C, Courty T, et al., 2023, Comprehensive characterization of a transgene insertion in a highly repetitive, centromeric region of Anopheles mosquitoes, Pathogens and Global Health, Vol:117, ISSN:2047-7724, Pages:273-283

Garrood WT, Cuber P, Willis K, et al., 2022, Driving down malaria transmission with engineered gene drives, Frontiers in Genetics, Vol:13, Pages:1-17

Pondeville E, Failloux A-B, Simard F, et al., 2022, Infravec2 guidelines for the design and operation of containment level 2 and 3 insectaries in Europe, Pathogens and Global Health, Vol:117, ISSN:2047-7724, Pages:293-307

Galas A, Haghighat-Khah RE, Cuber P, et al., 2022, The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Halting Sustainable Development in the Colca y Volcanes de Andagua UNESCO Global Geopark in Peru-Prospects and Future, Sustainability, Vol:14

Alcalay Y, Fuchs S, Galizi R, et al., 2021, The Potential for a Released Autosomal X-Shredder Becoming a Driving-Y Chromosome and Invasively Suppressing Wild Populations of Malaria Mosquitoes, Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, Vol:9, ISSN:2296-4185

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