B cell responses to malaria

Specific antibodies can bind to the malaria parasites injected by the mosquitoes (called sporozoites) and prevent them from establishing infection in the liver. However we do not know how to generate antibody responses that are strong enough and sustained enough for true protective immunity. We are using novel tools to track the B cells that mediate the antibody response to try and determine how to achieve this aim. In collaboration with Colin Jackson in the Research School of Chemistry we have also been examining the structures of sporozoite-neutralizing antibodies to determine how these antibodies work.

We have opportunities for specific projects in this research theme centred on cellular immunology techniques (flow cytometry; intravital imaging), bioinformatics (analysis of high throughput sequencing data) and biophysical techniques (e.g. X-ray crystallography).