Identifying targets and mechanisms of the acquired immunity to severe malaria in children

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Project Status
Medicine and Radiology
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor James Beeson Personal web page
Professor Stephen Rogerson Personal web page

Project Details

Malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity globally, particularly among young children. After repeated exposure, individuals develop effective immunity that controls blood-stage parasitaemia, thereby reducing clinical symptoms and life-threatening complications. Antibodies are important mediators of this acquired immunity. The demonstration that naturally acquired antibodies are associated with protection from malaria is one of the criteria used to objectively prioritize malaria antigens for malaria vaccine development.

We have recently completed a case-control study of severe malaria in children living on the North coast of Papua New Guinea. Cases were identified at Madang hospital and were defined as having severe malaria according to the World Health Organization criteria. Each case of severe malaria was matched to a healthy community control. Blood samples were taken from cases at the time of hospital admission and when the patient had recovered. For controls, samples were taken at the time of enrolment into the study.

We would like to determine levels of antibodies to a range of malaria antigens by Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), flow cytometry and functional antibody assays. The levels of these antibodies will then be related to clinical outcome using statistical analysis including regression techniques. These findings will help us understand how immunity contributes to protection from severe malarial disease progression. The findings are valuable for advancing vaccine development by providing evidence supporting certain malaria antigens as targets of protective immunity.

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Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Research Opportunities

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

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Key Contact

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


Medicine and Radiology

Research Group / Unit / Centre

Rogerson Laboratory: Pathogenesis of malaria and immunity in children and pregnant women

Research Node

Royal Melbourne Hospital

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