Malaria is an infectious disease caused by Plasmodium parasites. We aim to understand naturally acquired immune responses in humans generated against Plasmodium, and to utilise these findings for development of novel tools for malaria elimination. An example of this is the development of serological markers of recent exposure to the species P. vivax (Longley, Nature Medicine 2020 26:741–749.
We have a number of projects that could be undertaken, including understanding the development of immune memory and antibody longevity, application of serological exposure markers, and sero-epidemiological studies assessing associations of antibody responses with protection from clinical disease. These projects will use a variety of immunological techniques, epidemiology, computational data analysis, and will involve work with international collaborators.
The Mueller laboratory leads field- and laboratory-based studies in malaria-affected regions of Asia, the Pacific and South America. We have a wide range of expertise in genetics, genomics (NGS), population genetics, immunology, epidemiology, bioinformatics, biostatistics and mathematical modelling. We work closely with other groups at the Institute, interstate and overseas including field researchers in malaria-endemic countries. Our ultimate goal is to contribute to malaria elimination programs.
Dr Rhea Longley is a Senior Research Officer in the Mueller laboratory with expertise in malaria immunology, including sero-epidemiological studies and vaccine development.