The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital

  • Research Groups
    • Rogerson Group

      Stephen’s laboratory studies the pathogenesis and immunology of infection with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in humans. Their laboratory studies are linked to field studies, and they collaborate with leading malaria groups in Africa, Asia and Papua New Guinea. 

    Current Projects

    • How malaria parasite protein PfEMP1 interacts with the human immune system

      Stephen’s group have an NHMRC-funded Project Grant to study how the proteins on the surface of malaria-infected red blood cells interact with cells of the immune system. The principal protein, called P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1, or PfEMP1, comes in many variants, a subset of which have been associated with severe malaria in young African children. Stephen’s group are studying the link between PfEMP1 variants and immune response in their Melbourne laboratory and with colleagues in Blantyre, Malawi, where Stephen is co-supervising a local PhD student who is studying parasites and immune responses in children with malaria.

    • Glycoasminoglycans: sugars that alter the immune response to malaria

      Louise Randall has an NHMRC Project Grant to study how complex sugar molecules called glycosaminoglycans (or GAGs), produced in the placenta, shield the malaria parasite from the immune system. Louise and her collaborators at Sunshine Hospital, University of New South Wales and Imperial College London are developing techniques to purify different GAGs from placenta and to determine the placental proteins to which they are attached. Louise is studying how different versions of these sugars alter immune response to malaria parasites and how this affects immune response to malaria in the placenta, and whether high blood levels of GAGs might protect pregnant women from malaria.

    • Understanding and preventing effects of malaria on pregnant women and their babies

      Stephen’s group has a long-standing interest in how malaria affects pregnant women. The parasite accumulates in the placenta and affects both mother and baby. Stephen’s group’s work covers understanding how malaria affects the function of the placenta (such as transfer of nutrients to the baby), how mothers develop protective immunity against placental malaria, and studies of how to protect pregnant women from malaria. They recently completed a big study in Papua New Guinea of malaria prevention in pregnant women and showed that their drug combination could decrease low birth weight babies by a quarter and premature deliveries by a third.  

    Lab Team

    Rogerson Group

    • Senior Research Officer
    • Research Officer
    • Wina Hasang
      Research Assistant
    • Upeksha Chandrasiri
      PhD Students
    • Andrew Teo
      PhD Students
    • Marzieh Jabbarzare
      PhD Students
    • Madi Njie
      PhD Students
    • Priyanka Barua
      PhD Students
    • Janavi Rambhatla
      PhD Students
    • Tisha Twindyawardhani
      Honours students
    • Ayen Anuan
      Honours students
    • Senior Research Officer
    • Senior Research Officer

    Clinical Research

    Doherty Institute researchers have long standing collaborations with malaria researchers in Papua New Guinea, Malawi and Indonesia. They study the effects of malaria infection on pregnant women, their babies, and young children and have led or collaborated on studies of new drugs to prevent malaria in Papua New Guinea and Malawi. Working with Malawian clinicians and scientists, they study children with severe malaria, examining white blood cell responses to the malaria parasite, and how the parasite manipulates these responses by changing its protein expression. Their broad aim is to find better tools to prevent and treat malaria in children and pregnant women.