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Attenuated liver stage parasites as a novel vaccine for malaria

Project type

  • PhD and Graduate Research Masters
  • Masters by Coursework

Project details

Malaria affects hundreds of millions of people and causes over 600,000 deaths each year. One of the reasons malaria remains such a large global health problem is that there is not a highly effective vaccine. New ways of vaccinating people will be instrumental in helping eliminate malaria. We have shown previously that curing liver stage parasites with novel antimalarials prevents malaria disease and death (Favuzza et al Cell Host & Microbe 2020). We have subsequently shown that re-infecting previously drug-cured animals results in no malaria for up to 2 years later because they were completely immune. This project will identify how animals cured of their Plasmodium liver infections become immune to reinfection by studying humoral and cellular responses to the vaccine and identifying novel protective antigens.

Killing malaria parasites in the liver confers long-lasting sterile immunity. Image by Dr Ryan Steel from the Boddey lab.
Above: Killing malaria parasites in the liver confers long-lasting sterile immunity. Image by Dr Ryan Steel from the Boddey lab.

About our research group

Research in the Boddey lab focuses on how malaria parasites are transmitted by mosquitoes. Our research focuses particularly on the pre-erythrocytic liver stage of infection, before blood stage malaria occurs. We study proteins and mechanisms involved in infection to develop new tools and interventions for fighting malaria. We recently identified a novel antimalarial drug that stimulates sterile immunity lasting over 2 years and are studying the immune mechanisms and protective antigens involved.

Education pathways