Vector-Borne Diseases and Tropical Public Health Group

Head: Professor Leanne Robinson


Our highly collaborative multi-disciplinary research group established between the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR), Burnet Institute and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, encompasses epidemiological, immunological, and implementation research to inform the development and implementation of effective, evidence-based public health programs to control and eliminate vector borne diseases such as malaria and lymphatic filariasis.

Image: Dr Leanne Robinson (left); Photo credit: Mayeta Clark/WEHI

In particular, numerous ongoing epidemiological studies and intervention trials aim to better understand:

  • The changing epidemiology of malaria under sustained control and the complex interplay between host immunity and parasite transmission and the contribution of low-density infections to onward transmission
  • Plasmodium vivax malaria, specifically the contribution of the undetectable hypnozoite stage to the burden of infection and contribution to transmission
  • Serological markers of recent malaria exposure and their application as tools for surveillance and intervention in pre-elimination settings -|The most efficient sampling/surveillance and intervention strategies for malaria elimination in the Asia-Pacific region
  • The most effective and efficient mass drug administration regimes for lymphatic filariasis elimination
  • The burden of malaria infections during pregnancy and impact of maternal infections and nutritional deficiencies on low birth weight and infant/child growth and development
  • The impact of infectious diseases during infancy on child growth and development.

Image: PNGIMR DOLF team enrolling participants into mass drug administration trial; Photo credit: DOLF/PNGIMR

This research program actively supports over 20 early and mid-career researchers based at the Vector Borne Diseases Unit at the PNGIMR in Papua New Guinea, providing both formal Honours, Masters and PhD opportunities, as well as informal training and development.

Image: PNGIMR Scientific Officer Benishar Kombut; Photo credit: Mayeta Clark/WEHI


  • Evaluating a highly sensitive rapid malaria diagnostic in PNG

  • Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies

  • NATNAT: Newly Adapted Tools and Network Against Mosquito Borne Disease Transmission

  • PAVE PNG - PArtnership for Vivax Elimination

  • Reaching zero-dose and under-immunised children in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea

  • STRIVE PNG: Stronger Surveillance and Systems Support for Rapid Identification and Containment of Resurgent or Resistant Vector-Borne Pathogens in Papua New Guinea

Staff Members

  • Abdul Haseeb Memon

    Abdul Haseeb Memon
    Project Accountant

  • Desmond Gul

    Desmond Gul
    PhD Student

  • Evelien Rosens

    Evelien Rosens
    Senior Research Officer

  • Doctor Fiona Angrisano

    Doctor Fiona Angrisano
    Senior Research Officer

  • Isabella  Kruspe

    Isabella Kruspe
    Project Officer

  • Professor Leanne Robinson

    Professor Leanne Robinson
    Program Director, Health Security and Pandemic Preparedness; Senior Principal Research Fellow, Group Leader, Vector-Borne Diseases and Tropical Public Health

  • Paul Daly

    Paul Daly
    Project Manager

  • Rachael Farquhar

    Rachael Farquhar
    International Research Project Officer, Project Manager

  • Rebecca Narokobi

    Rebecca Narokobi
    Senior Molecular Scientist

  • Sam McEwen

    Sam McEwen
    Epidemiology and Surveillance Research Officer

  • Doctor Shazia Ruybal

    Doctor Shazia Ruybal
    Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Doctor Stefanie Vaccher

    Doctor Stefanie Vaccher
    Senior Research Fellow – Immunisation and Health Systems Strengthening