Professor James McCarthy - QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Professor James McCarthy - QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Davis Auditorium
Start Time: 
Wed, 12/12/2018 - 1:00pm
End Time: 
Wed, 12/12/2018 - 2:00pm

Learnings from experimental human malaria infection studies

​Wednesday seminar hosted by Professor Alan Cowman

Experimental models are essential to study of human disease processes. Although malaria is one of the most feared of human infections, we are fortunate in being able to move beyond in vitro and animal models and experimentally infect human volunteers. By monitoring the course of infection by PCR and terminating it before they become unwell these studies can be safely executed. Ethical imperatives require that such studies be undertaken to test drugs and vaccines under development. However, it is also possible to collect materials in these studies to investigate a wide range of questions in host-pathogen interaction, innate and acquired immune response, and parasite biology. Prospective sampling in the natural host in a setting where a wide array of current biomedical techniques is available is opening new opportunities to study human malaria while simultaneously undertaking antimalarial drug development. In this presentation, the exciting advances in translational research in malaria coming from these studies will be described, and some of the learnings from exploratory research will be presented.

Professor James McCarthy is a Senior Scientist at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, and an Infectious Diseases Physician at Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital, both in Brisbane, Australia. His clinical and research training were undertaken in Australia, the United Kingdom, at the University of Maryland and the Laboratory for Parasitic Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, before returning to Australia in 1997. A major focus of his research is the development and application of clinical trial systems that entail deliberate infection of human volunteers with malaria parasites by intravenous injection of Plasmodium-infected red blood cells. Volunteers are then studied in the pre-symptomatic period by qPCR to evaluate investigational drugs, vaccines and diagnostics for malaria.