The focus of our research is understanding how to generate effective immunity against the malaria parasite Plasmodium. Malaria kills from 500,000 to 1 million people each year. A game-changer in the fight against malaria would be an effective vaccine. We know that two of the most effective branches of the immune system capable of fighting malaria are antibodies (which are made by B cells) and CD8+ T cells. Antibodies can block parasites in the blood as they travel from the site of the infectious mosquito bite to the liver, where the infection is first established. CD8+ T cells are specialized killers that can patrol the liver, and find and eliminate the Plasmodium-infected cells. If we can understand how to harness these responses properly, we might be able to develop vaccines capable of giving robust and durable protection against malaria.
Accordingly, research in my group is focused on the 2 broad areas of B cell responses to malaria and T cell responses to malaria. Please see our potential project opportunities.