Research expertise

Lies Durnez graduated as a Master in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Antwerp in 2004. For her thesis research, she worked on the role of rodents and insectivores as reservoir of mycobacteria in Tanzania, where she found her passion for combining field and laboratory work to solve eco-epidemiological research questions. In 2004, Lies started her PhD research in the lab of Prof. Dr. Herwig Leirs at the Evolutionary Biology Unit of the University of Antwerp, and the lab of Prof. Dr. Françoise Portaels at the Mycobacteriology Unit of ITM. During her PhD she spend almost half of the time in the field, collecting samples of rodents and insectivores in Tanzania, Benin and Ghana. She performed her lab work in the microbiology lab of the ITM. Lies obtained her PhD in 2010 from the University of Antwerp, Belgium on the role of rodents and insectivores in the epidemiology of mycobacterial infections in Africa. During her PhD, she also obtained a Master in Conflict and Development at the University of Ghent, where she obtained a strong basis in quantitative and qualitative research.

Since 2010, she works at the Medical Entomology Unit of ITM. Her research, which is field- as well as laboratory-based, mainly focuses on the residual transmission of malaria in South-East Asia, including vector bionomics, research on a possible genetic basis of vector behavior, and innovative vector control measures. She was involved in the coordination of a community based intervention study that studied the effect of the use of topical repellents additionally to long lasting insecticidal nets to prevent residual malaria transmission. She is currently promoter of a follow up project that aims at studying the eco-epidemiology of malaria hotspots more in detail, both at macro-and micro-geographical scale, and makes use of the large dataset obtained in the repellent intervention study.

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