Umberto is Director of The Gambia Unit of the Medical Research Council, as well as leading the research theme for disease control and elimination. He has substantial work experience in Africa, first as a clinician and later as a clinical epidemiologist. Umberto’s been involved in malaria research for more than 20 years. His current research is focused on using malaria transmission in The Gambia as a test case to understand the factors that maintain transmission despite the overall decrease. This information can then inform countries that are in a similar situation as The Gambia, where transmission has decreased but where the disease has not been eliminated completely. Together with Alfred Amambua-Ngwa and in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, he is working to characterise the diversity of the local Plasmodium populations by genome sequencing, and to devise suitable SNP markers for defining the spatial and temporal spread of malaria in The Gambia at the village level.