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Discovering the mechanisms and targets of immunity against malaria

Antibodies play a vital role in acquired immunity against malaria. While the mechanisms of protection are not well understood, this knowledge is crucial for developing highly effective malaria vaccines. We are uncovering important roles for antibodies that can directly inhibit host cell infection, interact with immune cells to kill and clear malaria, or recruit the body’s complement system to neutralise infection.

The aims of this project include identifying the key targets of protective immunity against malaria, and quantifying the importance of specific mechanisms mediating immunity.This knowledge is used to inform the development of highly protective and long lasting vaccines

The project combines detailed studies of immune responses with clinical studies of children and adults who live in malaria-endemic regions. In these studies, we use innovative approaches to understand how antibodies neutralise and clear malaria parasites in the blood (including interactions with monocytes, macrophages and natural killer cells) and identifying the specific epitopes targeted by protective antibodies. The project may involve assays of functional immunity, cell culture, isolation and analysis of immune cells, flow cytometry, western blotting, ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), and epitope mapping.

Jamesbeeson 002 WEB Resized

Professor James Beeson

Please contact Professor James Beeson for more information about this project.