Alexander Maier



Dr Alex Maier’s passion for Molecular Parasitology was ignited during his studies at the University of Tuebingen (Germany) and Southern Colorado (USA). During his doctorate he investigated protein trafficking and membrane proteins of an energy generating organell in Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of the African sleeping sickness. This work was conducted under the supervision of Professor Christine Clayton at the ZMBH (Center for Molecular Biology) in Heidelberg, Germany.

In 2000 he was awarded a Post-doctoral fellowship from the German research council (Deutsche Forschungssgemeinschaft) to join the malaria group of Professor Alan Cowman at the Walter and Eliza Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), Melbourne.

In 2002 he took on the task to establish and head the WEHI Malaria Functional Genomics Facility. His research focus at WEHI dealt with the mechanism of how malaria parasites invade red blood cells and the transport and display of malaria molecules on the surface of infected red blood cells.

Dr Maier moved to the Department of Biochemistry at La Trobe University as ARC Australian Research Fellow and lab head in 2008 to investigate red blood cell modifications induced by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. He joined the Division of Biomedical Sciences and Biochemistry at The Australian National University early 2012.


Research interests

The research focus of the Maier lab is the identification of proteins involved in malaria pathogenesis and the elucidation of their function through biochemical, molecular and cell biological techniques.

Recent grants

  • NH&MRC Project Grant (585473): Saliba, K.J., Kirk K., Maier A., Tilley L. (2010-2012) The Na+/H+ exchanger and H+-pumping pyrophosphatases of the malaria parasite
  • ARC Discovery Grant (DP1093518): Maier, A.G., McKenzie M., Buffet P.A. (2010-2012) Biogenesis of red blood cell membrane modifications by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum
  • Hugh D.T. Williamson Foundation - ANZ Charitable Trusts: Maier, A.G. (2010) Molecular complexes formed by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in response to fever
  • ARC Discovery Grant (DP0878953): Maier, A.G. (2008-2012) Functional genomic analysis of exported DNAJ molecules in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.


  • BIOL2161 Genes: Replication and Expression (Convenor)
  • BIOL3174/5 Research Projects, PhB Advanced Study Courses (Supervisor).


Selected publications

  • Alexander G. Maier: The Malariologist’s Molecular Toolbox, In: Jane Carlton, Susan Perkins, Kirk Deitsch eds. Malaria Parasites - Comparative Genomics, Evolution and Molecular Biology (2012). Hethersett, Norwich, UK: Horizon Scientific Press
  • Tarun Kumar Bhatt, Sameena Khan, Ved Prakash Dwivedi, Mudassir Meraj Banday, Arvind Sharma, Anmol Chandele, Noelia Camacho, Ribas de Pouplana Lluis, Yang Wu, Alister G. Craig, Antti Tapani Mikkonen,Alexander G. Maier, Manickam Yogavel, Amit Sharma: Malaria parasite tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase secretion triggers pro-inflammatory responses, Nature Communications, 2011 2, 530
  • Kelley M. VanBuskirk, Matthew T. O’Neill, Patricia de la Vega, Alexander G. Maier, Urzsula Krzych, Jack Williams, Megan G. Dowler, John B. Sacci Jr, Niwat Kangwanrangsan, Takafumi Tsuboi, Norman M. Kneteman, Donald G. Heppner, Jr, Brant A. Murdock, Sebastian A. Mikolajczak, Ahmed S.I. Aly, Alan F. Cowman*, Stefan H.I. Kappe*: Pre-erythrocytic live-attenuated Plasmodium falciparum vaccine candidates by design, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2009 Aug 4; 106 (31): 13004-13009
  • Alexander G. Maier, Brian M. Cooke, Alan F. Cowman and Leann Tilley: Malaria parasite proteins that remodel the host erythrocyte, Nature Reviews Microbiology, 2009 May 7 (5): 341-354
  • Alexander G. Maier, Melanie Rug, Monica Brown, Matthew T. O’Neill, Srabasti Chakravorty, Tadge Szestak, Joanne Chesson, Yang Wu, Katie Hughes, Ross Coppel, Chris Newbold, James Beeson, Alister Craig, Brendan S. Crabb and Alan F. Cowman: Exported Proteins Required for Virulence and Rigidity of Plasmodium falciparum-Infected Human Erythrocytes, Cell, 2008 Jul 11, 134:48-61
  • Marthe C. D’Ombrain, Till S. Voss, Alexander G. Maier, J. Andrew Pearce, Diana S. Hansen, Alan F. Cowman and Louis Schofield: Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein-1 suppresses early IFN-gamma Production by gamma/delta-T, NK and alpha/beta-T cells via CD36 independent pathway, Cell Host & Microbe, 2007 Aug 16, 2(2):130-138
  • Alexander G. Maier*, Melanie Rug*, Matthew T. O’Neill, James Beeson, Matthias Marti, John Reeder and Alan F. Cowman: Skeleton Binding Protein 1 functions at the parasitophorous vacuolar membrane to traffic PfEMP1 to the Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocyte surface, Blood 2007 Feb, 109(3): 1289-1297 
  • Janine Stubbs, Ken Simpson, Tony Triglia, David Plouffe, Christopher J. Tonkin, Manoj T. Duraisingh, Alexander G. Maier, Elizabeth Winzeler and Alan F. Cowman: Molecular mechanism for switching of P. falciparum invasion pathways into human erythrocytes, Science 2005 309 (5739) 1384-7.
  • Manoj T. Duraisingh, Alexander G. Maier, Tony Triglia and Alan F. Cowman: The erythrocyte binding antigen-175 functions in invasion of human erythrocytes by Plasmodium falciparum utilizing sialic acid-dependent and -independent pathways, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100 (8) (2003) 4796-4801
  • Alexander G. Maier, Manoj T. Duraisingh, John C. Reeder, Sheral S. Patel, James W. Kazura, Peter A. Zimmerman and Alan F. Cowman: Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte invasion via glycophorin C and selection for Gerbich-negativity in human populations, Nature Medicine 9 (1) (2003) 87-92.

All publications

Updated:  19 June 2018/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB/Page Contact:  Webmaster RSB