Understanding how malaria parasites sabotage acquisition of immunity

Understanding how malaria parasites sabotage acquisition of immunity

Project details

Malaria is one the most serious infectious diseases with 250 million clinical cases annually. This infection is transmitted to humans by Anopheles mosquitos that are infected with Plasmodium parasites. Unlike other infections like smallpox, which induce life-long protection following a single infection, it is only after years of repeated exposure to the parasite that individuals living in endemic areas develop antibody-mediated immunity to malaria.  

Despite the key role that antibodies play in protection against malaria, the cellular processes underlying the slow and imperfect acquisition of immunity remain unknown. Our group investigates development and maintenance of B cell responses to malaria in humans and infection models. This research is critical to inform the design of effective malaria vaccines. 

About our research group

Our team focuses on understanding mechanisms leading to susceptibility and immunity to mosquito-borne infectious diseases like malaria and dengue, which together account 600 million clinical cases worldwide annually. In 2020, our group has also turned into COVID-19 research, to understand the longevity of the immune response to SARS-CoV2 and as well as the identification of factors predisposing to long COVID. 

We have ample experience in in vivo models of infection, and we utilise a wide range of techniques for assessment of immunological endpoints.  

Our group has strong links with scientist in malaria and dengue-endemic areas, where we conduct field human studies. Our main collaborators are the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology in Jakarta, Indonesia and the Institute of Translational Medical Research in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

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