Project: Micro-RNA and severity of clinical malaria
Infection with Plasmodium falciparum ranges in severity from asymptomatic parasitaemia to severe or fatal disease. Host and parasite-derived factors are involved in determining severity of illness. Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells release small membrane particles, called extracellular vesicles (EV), into the circulation that directly interact with, and influence, host cells through the proteins and nucleic acids (RNA/DNA). EV are capable of transporting functional micro-RNA (miRNA). The goal of this project is to determine if EV in circulation and/or extracellular miRNA associated with vesicles contribute to the regulation of the clinical severity of falciparum malaria.
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.