Identifying the functional basis of recent selective sweeps in the malaria genome

Identifying the functional basis of recent selective sweeps in the malaria genome

Project details

Malaria parasite populations are constantly adapting in response to their human and mosquito hosts, immunity, drug pressure and other environmental challenges. Genome wide screens of selection in malaria parasite populations of Papua New Guinea have revealed novel regions under recent positive selection. 

This project aims to investigate several candidate adaptive genes found within these selective sweeps, including putative drug resistance genes, in order to understand the causes and consequences of parasite genome evolution. The project will employ molecular parasitology, genomic epidemiology and systems biology (genomics, epigenetics, transcriptomics) to identify and investigate parasite phenotypes associated with candidate adaptive loci.   

Students will become proficient in molecular and systems biology, molecular parasitology, genetic epidemiology, Next Generation Sequencing, bioinformatics (Unix, R) and population genetic analyses. 

 

About our research

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 Alan Cowman is an expert in malaria parasite biology and his team has contributed to potential new vaccines and treatments. Professor Melanie Bahlo leads a bioinformatics research team that develops new data analysis approaches to understand infectious and inherited diseases. 

Expertise across our teams includes biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, genomics, population genetics, epidemiology, protein chemistry, super resolution microscopy, bioinformatics and biostatistics. We work 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. 

Researchers:

Professor Alan Cowman

Professor Alan Cowman in the lab
Professor
Alan
Cowman
Deputy Director and Joint Division Head

Professor Melanie Bahlo

Melanie Bahlo
Professor
Melanie
Bahlo
Joint Division Head

Project Type: