Project: What do antibodies need to do to protect a woman against pregnancy-malaria?
Pregnant women are susceptible to malaria and though we know which antigen women’s antibodies need to recognise, we don’t know the most efficient way for these antibodies to protect women. Antibodies may confer protection by interacting with complement. This project would involve measuring complement binding antibodies towards placental malaria antigen using plate-based immunoassays in samples from pregnant women and/ or individuals from Phase I vaccine trials, and analysing if they are protective or if they are generated. This will help us identify the role of complement binding antibodies in protection, information needed to effectively design and evaluate a pregnancy-malaria vaccine.
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.