Antigenic diversity of malaria parasites: towards more effective malaria vaccines

Antigenic diversity of malaria parasites: towards more effective malaria vaccines

Project details

The diversity of malaria parasites is a major obstacle to vaccine efficacy, yet there is only a limited understanding of the extent to which genetic polymorphism contributes to vaccine failure.

This project aims to define the relationship between genetic polymorphism and antigenic diversity by utilising samples from a longitudinal cohort of children exposed to malaria. Cutting-edge genomic and sero-epidemiological approaches will be employed to assess risk associated with different malaria parasite genotypes and identify the determinants of immune escape.  

The project will provide a serotype classification system for use in designing vaccines and for the preliminary assessment of vaccine efficacy in target populations.

About our research group

Research in the Barry lab focuses on understanding the genomic diversity of natural malaria parasite populations to inform on transmission patterns, drug resistance, vaccines and the acquisition of immunity in the human host. We are interested in understanding the impact of malaria control and elimination and how to target interventions to have the greatest impact. We combine high quality field studies with state of the art genomic technologies to explore central questions in malaria genomic- and sero-epidemiology with direct relevance to global health. 

Professor Ivo Mueller leads field- and laboratory-based studies in malaria-affected regions of Asia, the Pacific and South America, that are contributing to malaria elimination programs.

Expertise in our labs includes genetics, genomics (NGS), population genetics, serology (antibody studies), epidemiology, bioinformatics and biostatistics. The lab group works closely with other groups at the Institute, interstate and overseas including researchers at the Sanger Institute (UK), Broad Institute (USA) and field researchers in malaria endemic countries in the Asia Pacific. 



Professor Ivo Mueller

Professor Ivo Mueller
Joint Division Head

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