Targets of protective immunity in severe malaria

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Number of Honour Places Available
Medicine and Radiology
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Michael Duffy 83443262 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Stephen Rogerson 8344-3259 Personal web page

Project Details

429,000 people died from malaria in 2015, most of them children under 5 years of age. However, malaria mortality is only approximately 0.2%. What is it that makes severe malaria fatal? Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites infect red blood cells and export proteins to the surface of the red blood cells which then bind the infected red blood cell to the walls of blood vessels. By hiding in the peripheral circulation parasites avoid destruction in the spleen and by changing the cytoadhesive proteins they express the parasites avoid immunity. Some of these proteins are responsible for severe malaria, for example some proteins bind infected red blood cells to blood vessels in the brain leading to the most fatal form of malaria, cerebral malaria. We recently discovered a complete set of the proteins expressed by parasites causing severe malaria in Papua. We now need to use our established serological assay to determine whether the immune response to these proteins is associated with protection from severe disease. Proteins which elicit protective immunity could be candidates for a severe malaria vaccine.

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine

Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
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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