Professor Brendan Crabb, Professor Lars Hviid and Dr James Beeson.
Over 400 scientists from around the world gathered in Lorne last week to hear the latest advances addressing how to eliminate malaria at the Molecular Approaches to Malaria Conference
Burnet Institute’s malaria researchers Professor Brendan Crabb and Michelle Boyle presented at the conference with a number of the Institute’s staff displaying posters on their research.
Throughout the week, new discoveries from the world’s best scientists were presented, discussed and debated, with the goal being to find new ways to control and ultimately eradicate malaria.
Burnet Institute Director and CEO Professor Crabb said Australia has some of the world’s leading malaria researchers with two local pieces of work standing out to him during the week.
“An Australian discovery by Michael Good and his team at Griffith University on the vaccine front struck me, it’s a very simple solution and involves using whole parasites to vaccinate people but at a very low dose,” he explained.
“These are parasites that have effective been inactivated by a chemical treatment. The early pre-clinical studies have been remarkable.”
Professor Crabb also mentioned another Australian group, Bill Charman at Monash University, who are at the pointy end of a new malaria drug.
“We are effectively on our last drug so we are desperate for new solutions, Professor Charman is a pioneer at developing new and really effective drugs,” he said.
In Victoria for the conference was Professor Lars Hviid, the Head of Laboratory, Centre for Medical Parasitology at the Copenhagen University Hospital.
Professor Hviid, one of the world’s leading experts in pregnancy associated malaria, stayed on following the conference to deliver the first Burnet Institute Director’s Seminar of the year.
His research focus is in the immunology and pathogenesis of pregnancy-associated P. falciparum malaria and of severe P. falciparum malaria in children.
He hopes to contribute to the development of PfEMP1-based vaccines against malaria.
His current research is in the application of human monoclonal antibody technology to the identification and characterisation of parasite antigen epitopes of clinical importance for acquired immunity to P. falciparum malaria and development of experimental models of pregnancy-associated P. falciparum malaria.