Dr Jack Richards and his team are working hard to develop a diagnostic test that will enable effective treatment and eradication of malaria.
As a current PhD student at the Burnet Institute and the University of Melbourne, Vashti works to understand the natural immune response to the malaria parasite, particularly as individuals are developing immunity.
In her honours year, she developed an assay to test for functional antibodies to a malaria vaccine candidate, EBA175.
Her current research further questions the mechanisms that underlie these functional responses in the context of natural and vaccine induced immunity.
Her work also focuses on the different subclasses of antibodies. There are four subclasses of antibodies (IgG1, IgG2, IgG3 and IgG4) however individuals that develop natural immunity mainly develop IgG1 and IgG3. She questions how these different subclasses contribute to natural immunity to ensure that new vaccines induce the most effective immune response.
These projects combine her interest in microbiology and immunology research, epidemiological approaches and public health.