New international graduate school crosses boundaries in malaria research

11 October 2016

The Australian National University (ANU) has partnered with Humboldt University in Berlin (Germany) to deliver a dual PhD program aimed at crossing boundaries to fight malaria.

Associate Professor Alexander Maier from the ANU Research School of Biology said that malaria continues to be a major threat to the world’s health and economies.

“It is a disease that crosses boundaries between parasite and host, but to find a solution additional boundaries need to be crossed, including boundaries between academia, industry and the public sector,” said Associate Professor Maier.

More than 500,000 people die of malaria every year and up to 40 per cent of the world’s population is at risk of contracting the disease.

However, despite this threat, funding for malaria research pales in comparison to cancers and heart disease, and researchers are locked into a continous battle as the malaria parasite undergoes mutations limiting the effectiveness of any treatments.

The ANU/Humboldt-University Graduate School aims to provide exciting opportunities to transverse some of these barriers and address fundamental problems in preventing malaria.

“This graduate program is exceptional as all research projects will be jointly supervised by two prominent research institutions in Berlin and Canberra,” said Associate Professor Maier.

“A customized training and internship program will also support students in acquiring the critical skills needed to prepare them for competitive public and private sector job markets.

“This could include working for the World Health Organization, NGOs, governments or pharmaceutical and healthcare companies.”

Successful applicants will be able to receive a PhD both from ANU and Humboldt University, and will spend 12 months of their PhD in Berlin.

Research projects are currently available in the ANU Research School of Biology, The John Curtin School of Medical Research and the Centre for Advanced Microscopy.  

If you are ready to cross boundaries in malaria research please contact Associate Professor Alexander Maier for more information (

Applications for the 2017 intake close 20 October 2016.