Matt Thomas, Ph.D.

  • Professor and Huck Scholar in Ecological Entomology
Matt Thomas, Ph.D.
112 Merkle Lab
University Park, PA 16802
Work Phone: 814-865-2480

The Thomas Lab Website
Detailed information on research and publications can be found at this website.

Department Focus Areas

  • Ecological Applications
  • Disease Ecology & Biology

Postdoctoral Scholars and Research Associates

  • Antoine Barreaux
  • Katey Glunt
  • Francis Nnaemeka
  • Eleanore Sternberg
  • Eunho Suh
  • Sunita Swain (based in India)
  • Jessica Waite
  • Penny Lynch (UK-based modeling consultant)

Ph.D. Students

  • Shelley Whitehead
  • Priscille Barreaux (registered at University of Neuchatel)

Research Technicians

  • Janet Teeple
  • Dean Taylor


Our research explores many aspects of the ecology and evolution of insect pests and diseases with the aim of better understanding the consequences of global change and improving the effectiveness and sustainability of pest and disease management. We combine empirical and theoretical approaches to address issues of fundamental and applied significance.

Over the years we have worked in many systems with research on diverse topics including the ecology and evolution of host-pathogen interactions, predicting and understanding the impact of invasive species, biodiversity and ecosystem health, and many aspects of biological control.

In recent years we’ve tended to focus on transferring knowledge and insights from ecology and agriculture into the public health arena. Current projects include research on the effects of environmental temperature on transmission of vector-borne diseases, understanding the consequences of insecticide resistance for malaria control, and developing and evaluating novel control tools for the development of improved integrated vector management strategies.

Recent Publications


Sternberg, E.D., Ng’habi, K.R., Lyimo, I.N., Kessy, S.T., Farenhorst, M., Thomas, M.B., Knols, B.G.J. & Mnyone, L.L. (2016). Eave tubes for malaria control in Africa: Initial development and semi-field evaluations in Tanzania. Malaria Journal 15, 447.

Waite, J.L., Lynch, P.A. & Thomas, M.B. (2016). Eave tubes for malaria control in Africa: A modeling assessment of potential impact on transmission. Malaria Journal 15, 449.

Thomas, M.B. & Read, A.F. (2016). The threat (or not) of insecticide resistance for malaria control. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113, 8900-8902

Shapiro, L.L.M., Murdock, C.C., Jacobs, G.R., Thomas, R.L. & Thomas, M.B. (2016). Larval food quantity affects the capacity of adult mosquitoes to transmit human malaria. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 283, 20160298.

Murdock, C.C., Sternberg, E.D. & Thomas, M.B. (2016). Malaria transmission potential could be reduced with current and future climate change. Scientific Reports 6, 27771.

Thomas, S., Ravishankaran, S., Justin, J.A., Aswin, A., Mathai, M.T., Valecha, N., Thomas, M.B. & Eapen, A. (2016). Overhead tank is the potential breeding habitat of Anopheles stephensi in an urban transmission setting of Chennai, India. Malaria Journal 15, 274.

Paini, D.R., Sheppard, A.W., Cook, D.C., De Barro, P.J., Worner, S.P. & Thomas, M.B. (2016). The global threat to agriculture from invasive species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113, 7575-7579.

Ohm, J.R., Teeple, J., Nelson, W.A., Thomas, M.B., Read, A.F., Cator, L.J. (2016). Fitness consequences of altered feeding behavior in immune-challenged mosquitoes. Parasites & Vectors 9,113.

Heinig, R.L., Paaijmans, K.P., Hancock, P.A. & Thomas, M.B. (2015). The potential for fungal biopesticides to reduce malaria transmission under diverse environmental conditions. Journal of Applied Ecology 52, 1558–1566.

Conn, J.E., Norris, D.E., Donnelly, M.J., Beebe, N.W., Burkot, T.R., Mamadou B. Coulibaly, M.B., Chery, L., Eapen, A., Keven, J.B., Kilama, M., Kumar, A., Lindsay, S.W., Moreno, M., Quinones, M., Reimer, L.J., Russell, T.L., Smith, D.L., Thomas, M.B., Walker, E.D., Wilson, M.L. & Yan, G. (2015). Entomological monitoring and evaluation: diverse transmission settings of ICEMR projects will require local and regional elimination strategies. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 93 (3 Suppl), 28-41.

Cator, L.J., Pietri, J.E., Murdock, C.C., Ohm, J.R., Lewis, E., Read, A.F., Luckhart, S. & Thomas, M.B. (2015).  Immune response and insulin signaling alter mosquito feeding behaviour to enhance malaria transmission potential. Scientific Reports 5, 11947.

Acharya, N., Rajotte, E.G., Jenkins,N.E. & Thomas, M.B. (2015). Influence of biotic and abiotic factors on the persistence of a Beauveria bassiana biopesticide in laboratory and high-rise poultry house settings. Biocontrol Science and Technology 250: 697-715.

Chen, S., Fleischer, S.J., Saunders, M.C. & Thomas, M.B. (2015). The influence of diurnal temperature variation on degree-day accumulation and insect life history. PLoS One. 10(3): e0120772.

Parham, P.E., Waldock, J., Christophides, G.K., Hemming, D., Folashade, A., Evans, K.J., Fefferman, N., Gaff, H., Gumel, A., LaDeau, S., Lenhart, S., Mickens, R.E., Naumova, E.N., Ostfeld, R.S., Ready, P.D., Thomas, M.B., Velasco-Hernandez, J. & Michael, E. (2015). Climate, environmental and socio-economic change: weighing up the balance in vector-borne disease transmission. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 370, 20130551

Acharya, N., Seliga, R.A., Rajotte, E.G., Jenkins, N.E. & Thomas, M.B. (2015). Persistence and efficacy of a Beauveria bassiana biopesticide against the house fly, Musca domestica, on typical structural substrates of poultry houses. Biocontrol Science and Technology 25, 697-715

Heinig R.L. & Thomas, M.B. (2015). Interactions between a fungal entomopathogen and malaria parasites within a mosquito vector. Malaria Journal 14, 22.

Research Interests

Ecological Applications

Ecology and evolution of host-pathogen interactions; invasive species; agrobiodiversity and natural pest control; biological control

Disease Biology and Ecology

Ecology and evolution of host-pathogen interactions; invasive species; agrobiodiversity and natural pest control; biological control

Malaria Research