Project: Characterisation of antibodies against Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes to elucidate mechanisms of transmission blocking immunity
Immunity against sexual stage that underpin transmission blocking vaccines directed at parasite molecules expressed in the gametocyte through to ookinete stages are not well-understood. Antibodies (Ab) directed against these molecules are likely be crucial for transmission blocking immunity (TBI). We propose to characterise the sexual stage Ab targets in Plasmodium falciparum, the cause of the most severe form of malaria, and to better understand the properties of Abs that confer TBI. The goals of this project are to functionally characterise anti-gametocyte antibodies in sera from malaria-infected individuals that mediate TBI using biochemical and immunological techniques.
The Rogerson group studies the pathogenesis and immunity of malaria in the human host, using in vitro models and clinical samples from individuals in malaria-affected countries. We study how malaria in the mother affects her placenta, and the growth and development of her baby, and why some children develop life-threatening malaria, while others with similar exposure remain well or develop mild illness. We are collaborating with engineers to develop new diagnostics for malaria and are taking novel approaches to identifying antibody responses that protect pregnant women and young children from malaria, and block malaria transmission to mosquitoes.