Santini Subramaniam

Santini Subramaniam

Santini Subramaniam
Honours student Santini Subramaniam's research
is contributing to new diagnostic tests for malaria.

Why did you choose the Institute for your Honours year?

Having witnessed the devastating effects of malaria first hand, I was extremely interested in the Honours project about malaria control offered by my supervisors. Moreover, the $5000 Alan W Harris Honours Scholarship that is awarded to all Honours students at the Institute was extremely appealing for my situation.

What do you see as the benefits of doing Honours at the Institute?

The Institute has an international reputation for excellence in medical research and has facilities and resources to match. Students receive great support from mentors and colleagues who are experts in their fields. Most importantly there is ample opportunity to explore research outside your field of interest through regular seminars and workshops held at the Institute.

What is the subject of your Honours research?

My project is developing a better way to detect DNA from the malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax in blood samples collected in the field. This will enhance the quality of genome sequencing data that can be obtained, providing a wealth of new information that can be used to improve malaria control efforts in endemic countries around the world.

What does a typical working day involve?

My day is mostly spent performing a technique called quantitative PCR (qPCR). In my spare time, I write up lab reports, read journal papers and socialise with my friends in the Institute tearoom.

What did you do before starting Honours? 

While completing a Bachelor of Science majoring in human anatomy, I undertook an internship at a rural hospital in Ghana. It was unsettling to witness children being admitted for preventable diseases such as malaria. When I returned to Melbourne, I also discovered that refugee and asylum seeker populations in Melbourne are disproportionately burdened by infectious diseases. This inspired me to volunteer with migrant and refugee organisations, as well as pursuing Honours in malaria research.