The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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

EDUCATION

Research Projects

Project: Understanding the development of protective immunity to malaria in pregnancy

Rogerson Group

Pregnant women are susceptible to malaria and we have recently identified a set of antibody features that were associated with protection from malaria in pregnancy.  Interestingly, some of the identified antibody features are not associated with functions which are traditionally thought to be effective at clearing the parasites which cause malaria.  We hypothesise that these antibody features are instead markers of a mature immune response.  This project will involve measuring antibody features to placental malaria antigens using plate and flow cytometry based assays in samples from pregnant women, analysing how and when they are acquired and if they are protective. This will allow us to understand the role of these antibodies in protection and development of immunity, information needed to effectively design and evaluate a pregnancy-specific malaria vaccine.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Dr Elizabeth Aitken

Project availability
Honours

Rogerson Group

[email protected]

4 vacancies

Themes
Immunology
Host Pathogens Interactions
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Discovery Research
Global Health
Translational and Clinical Research

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.