How does the malaria parasite prevent the host liver cell from dying? (Masters option available)

How does the malaria parasite prevent the host liver cell from dying? (Masters option available)

Project details

The malaria parasite, Plasmodium, infects many people each year. Effective drugs against malaria are essential, however Plasmodium vivax can form a dormant stage called a hypnozoite in the liver that is particularly difficult to kill. 

We do not understand how the parasite is able to prevent the liver cell from undergoing apoptosis, a process of cell death usually activated when a cell is infected. Using a protein structural prediction program we have identified a number of genes in Plasmodium that look like proteins involved in the human apoptosis pathway. 

This project will test whether these parasite proteins are mimicking human proteins and so preventing cell death. You will learn cell culture, cell biology and protein biology. Understanding this process may lead to new drug targets.

 

About our research group

Expertise in our lab includes genetics, genomics (NGS), population genetics, serology (antibody studies), epidemiology, bioinformatics and biostatistics. We work closely with other groups at the Institute, interstate and overseas including researchers at the Sanger Institute (UK), Broad Institute (US) and field researchers in malaria endemic countries in the Asia Pacific. The Jex lab has expertise in structural predictions of proteins, parasitology and bioinformatics.

 

 

 

Researchers:

Dr Sarah Charnaud profile photo
Dr
Sarah
Charnaud
Population Health and Immunity division

Professor Ivo Mueller

Professor Ivo Mueller
Professor
Ivo
Mueller
Joint Division Head

Project Type: