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Queens Anniversary Prizes 2015

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Professor Glyn A Vale

Visiting Professor of Insect Behaviour
Research Fellow -- Behavioural ecology of tsetse and other biting flies
Natural Resources Institute


In 1965, after graduating with a degree in Agriculture from the University of Oxford, Vale joined the Division of Tsetse and Trypanosomaisis Control, Government of Zimbabwe, to run Rekomitjie Research Station in the Mana Pools National Park of the Zambezi Valley, with research interests covering the behaviour, ecology and control of tsetse flies and the environmental risks associated with such control. Most attention was given to studying the responses of tsetse to host animals, and the development of bait methods to control and survey the flies. Between 1970 between 1973 Vale was seconded from the Division to the University of London (University College of Rhodesia). From 1980 onwards, much work was performed in close association with the Tsetse Research Laboratory, University of Bristol, and the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich.

From 1987 to 1989, Vale was Director of the Division and so was responsible for all tsetse and trypanosomiasis research and control in Zimbabwe, and for liaison with sister organisations in other countries, via the EU-funded Regional Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Control Programme for Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. His main brief then was to supervise the adoption of the new bait methods of tsetse control.

For ten years, starting in 1989, Vale was the Research Co-ordinator for the Regional Programme. This involved his performing his own research in Zimbabwe, helping to establish research stations in nearby countries, training research personnel to MSc and PhD levels, and liaison with research organisations in Europe, particularly the Natural Resources Institute.

After the winding down of the Regional Programme in 1999, Vale has continued as a research advisor to the Zimbabwe Government but has strengthened his association with research bodies outside Zimbabwe, particularly: (i) the Natural Resources Institute, (ii) the Southern African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis, University of Stellenbosch (iii) the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and (iv) the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh.

Research/Scholarly Interests

Vale's initial research addressed the behaviour and ecology of tsetse flies, particularly the responses of tsetse to host animals. It soon became clear that the conventional methods of studying such responses were inefficient and misleading, so suggesting the need for much improvement of methods. With the aid of the new methods developed, it emerged that there was much potential for enhancing the cost-effectiveness of baits to control and survey the flies. Most of Vale's subsequent work has involved co-operation with other scientists to maximize this potential. The main outcome of such work has been the improvement of traps to survey tsetse, and the development of control methods based on the use of natural and artificial baits treated with insecticide.

Subsidiary work has been performed on the host-orientated behaviour of mosquitoes and many other flies, partly to explore bait methods of sampling and controlling these insects but also to confirm that baits used for tsetse control have no broad ecological impact. Identifications have been made of the means by which cattle can be treated with insecticide without leading to dung contamination, so avoiding the threat to dung fauna.

The most intriguing aspect of current work is the attempt to develop a means of rationalising and unifying the many apparent distinctions in the behaviour of the various species of tsetse fly. Of particular interest is the extent to which the behavioural distinctions that determine the different vectorial capacities of the various species result from the innate differences between the flies, as against being immediate consequences of their contrasting environment. Understanding such matters has an important bearing on predicting the impacts of tsetse control and environmental change on the epidemiology of tsetse-borne diseases.

Responsibilities within the University

  • Research

Selected Publications

Recent Conference Presentations

  • Vale G.A. 2011. Contact between humans and tsetse flies in Zimbabwe. In: ITM/DVTD, Neglected tropical diseases and zoonoses in Africa. Johannesburg, South Africa.

External Recognition

  • President of the Zimbabwe Scientific Association
  • Editor of Zimbabwe Science News
  • Editor of Transactions of the Zimbabwe Scientific Association


  • 2008 OBE
  • 2003 African Union Gold Medal
  • 2003 World Technology Network Honorary Fellow
  • 2002 Royal Entomological Society Honorary Fellow
  • 1988 Ciba-Geigy International Prize for Research in Animal Health
  • 1985 President of Zimbabwe Certificate of Distinction
  • 1979 Zimbabwe Natural Resources Board Special Award
  • 1976 Zimbabwe Scientific Association Gold Medal

Contact Information

Dr. Glyn A Vale

Natural Resources Institute

University of Greenwich

Central Avenue, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, United Kingdom.

Tel: +44 (0) 2634 304902

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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