M-ficolin in the Immune Response to Plasmodium falciparum malaria

Research Opportunity
Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Number of Master Places Available
Medicine and Radiology
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Louise Randall louise.randall@unimelb.edu.au 03 8344 2181 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Stephen Rogerson stephen.rogerson@unimelb.edu.au 03 8344 3259 Personal web page

Summary This is an exciting project that examines the role of the innate immune system in the fight against malaria. Malaria is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, particularly among children and pregnant women.

Project Details

The human ficolins are pattern recognition molecules that activate the lectin pathway of the complement system and are, thus, key players in the innate immune system’s response to pathogens. In humans, three ficolins have been characterised (L-, H- and M-ficolin) and each binds to particular patterns of carbohydrates. The majority of studies have focused on the recognition of bacteria species by the ficolins. Malaria is a disease that causes great morbidity and mortality. Malaria is caused by infection with parasites belonging to the Plasmodium genus. Preliminary work in our laboratory has shown for the first time that m-ficolin can bind to Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells (iRBCs). We hypothesise that m-ficolin is a critical factor in the early identification and clearance of iRBCs. This project aims to characterise the interaction between m-ficolin and the iRBC. We also aim to investigate whether there is a relationship between serum levels of m-ficolin and the severity of the malaria episode by studying patient sera. Finally, we aim to determine whether m-ficolin enhances phagocytosis of iRBCs by monocytes.

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine, Women's Health

Research Opportunities

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

Royal Melbourne Hospital

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