Professor Geoff McFadden, School of Botany, University of Melbourne
Tuesday 26 June 2012 1pm
Malaria is a global world health problem. There is no vaccine, the available drugs are losing the battle against parasite resistance, and global warming threatens to exacerbate the situation.
Our goal has been to understand the origin, function and biogenesis of the relict chloroplast in human parasites. We showed that malaria and related parasites are close relatives of the dinoflagellate algae that are symbionts of coral. We unraveled the mechanism of how the parasite targets nucleus-encoded proteins to the relict chloroplast, and we generated a map of the metabolism. We developed Australia’s first malaria life cycle facility allowing us to cycle parasites between mosquitoes and mice to facilitate genetic, metabolic, immunological and drug sensitivity studies.