Human monoclonal antibodies against malaria infection

Human monoclonal antibodies against malaria infection

Project details

Being an obligate intracellular parasite, malaria has to invade red blood cells in order to survive within the human host. One essential step within invasion is the recognition of human red blood cells by malaria parasites, a process involving an intimate interaction between parasite adhesins and red blood cell receptors.

Our lab is interested in identifying novel parasite adhesins involved in red blood cell recognition and how they function in the dynamic process of parasite entry. This project will involve characterisation of human monoclonal antibodies to identify neutralising antibodies that effectively inhibit parasite invasion. We will use a wide range of biochemical, structural and molecular techniques to characterise the mechanism of inhibition. We can exploit this crucial information to rationally design a potential vaccine to prevent malaria parasite invasion into human red blood cells.

About our research group

Malaria is one of the most widespread parasitic diseases in the world with more than 40 per cent of humans under the risk of contracting this devastating disease. Human malaria is caused by six species of Plasmodium parasites, of which Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax contribute to the majority of human infections.

We have been working to understand how malaria parasites cause disease and invade the human red blood cell so that we can use this pivotal information to develop a vaccine. Our research seeks a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms utilised by malaria parasites to invade red blood cells, and of parasite evasion strategies to circumvent human immune responses.

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Q&A session at World Malaria Day 2014 public lecture

An overview of malaria research and progress to date, including vaccine and drug development, and our research in malaria-endemic countries.