Mapping human gene mutations affecting anti-malarial drug efficacy (Masters option available)

Mapping human gene mutations affecting anti-malarial drug efficacy (Masters option available)

Project details

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

The only drugs that can target the hypnozoite are dangerous in people who are deficient in glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase enzyme (G6PD) and can cause haemolysis. The product of another polymorphic human gene, CYP2D6, is needed to activate the drug to make it effective.

This project will optimise sequencing technologies to map the mutations in these genes in populations in the Pacific region. You will learn advanced sequencing and genetic analysis. Ultimately the data generated will inform local government policy on what drugs can be used in which areas, and may be transferrable into a diagnostic test.


About our research group

Professor Ivo Mueller leads field- and laboratory-based studies in malaria-affected regions of Asia, the Pacific and South America, which are contributing to malaria elimination programs.
Expertise in our lab 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 (US) and field researchers in malaria endemic countries in the Asia Pacific. 




Dr Sarah Charnaud profile photo
Population Health and Immunity division

Professor Ivo Mueller

Professor Ivo Mueller
Joint Division Head

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