Alessia is a PhD student at the Burnet Institute and the University of Melbourne working with the Beeson group on developing novel malaria vaccines under the supervision of Prof James Beeson, Dr Liriye Kurtovic, and Dr Herbert Opi. Her PhD project primarily focuses on the current, leading pre-erythrocytic stage vaccine RTS,S which confers modest efficacy (~30-50%).
Alessia is determining the specific conserved, variable, and polymorphic epitopes within the vaccine antigen (circumsporozoite protein) responsible for mediating highly protective RTS,S-induced antibody responses.
Additionally, she investigates how the presence of diverse P. falciparum strains circulating in malaria-endemic regions impacts RTS,S efficacy. Through this work, Alessia seeks to inform the development of highly protective next-generation P. falciparum vaccines.
Alessia previously obtained a Master of Biomedical Science in 2022 (Burnet Institute and the University of Melbourne) and a Bachelor of Biomedicine in 2020 (the University of Melbourne).
- 2023-present: Doctor of Philosophy, University of Melbourne, Australia
- 2021-2022: Master of Biomedical Science, University of Melbourne, Australia
- 2018-2020: Bachelor of Biomedicine (Infections and Immunity), University of Melbourne, Australia
- 2022: Awarded the Australian Society for Parasitology (ASP) Student Conference Travel Grant to attend the 2022 ASP Annual Meeting.
- 2022: Awarded bursary to attend ASI 2022 Annual Scientific Meeting.
- 2022: Won 3MT (3-min thesis) presentation at the Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology (ASI) IgV Student Roadshow.
- 2021: Granted “The Melbourne Graduate Access\u201D Bursary.