Discovering the mechanisms and targets of immunity against malaria

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Medicine and Radiology
Burnet Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof James Beeson 92822111 Personal web page

Project Details

Antibodies are an important component of acquired immunity against malaria, as demonstrated in pivotal studies in which immunoglobulin G (IgG) from immune adults was transferred to malaria-infected children and resulted in clearance of infection. The mechanisms of protection and specific target epitopes of protective immunity are not well understood, yet this knowledge is crucial for developing highly effective vaccines against malaria. In recent studies, we have begun to uncover important roles for antibodies that can directly inhibit host-cell infection, interact with immune cells to kill and clear malaria, or recruit complement to neutralise infection.

The aims of this project include identifying the key targets of protective immunity and quantifying the importance of specific mechanisms mediating immunity. The project may combine detailed studies of immune responses with clinical and population studies in Africa, Asia, and Papua New Guinea. It will examine how immune responses protect children from malaria, or protect pregnant women and their developing babies from the devastating consequences of malaria in pregnancy.

The studies would particularly focus on using innovative approaches to understand how antibodies neutralise and clear malaria parasites in the blood or prevent malaria from infecting the liver, including interactions with monocytes/macrophages and dendritic cells, and identifying specific epitopes targeted by protective antibodies. Skills may involve assays of functional immunity, cell culture, isolation and analysis of immune cells, flow cytometry, western blotting, ELISA, and epitope mapping. The project will be tailored to best match the student’s interests and training background.

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine, Women's Health

Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Node

Burnet Institute

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