Dr Sarah Auburn and Dr Michelle Boyle receive over $2.5 million in NHMRC funding to explore adjunctive therapies and novel surveillance tools for malaria

December 16, 2020

Congratulations to Dr Sarah Auburn (Menzies School of Health Research) and Dr Michelle Boyle (QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute) who were successful in the latest round of Ideas grant funding from the Australian National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC).

Dr Sarah Auburn will receive $536,158 to develop novel genetic tools for tracking the origins and spread of Plasmodium vivax. Whilst P. vivax causes over 14 million malaria cases annually, containment of the parasite is constrained by limited surveillance tools. This project will establish genetic data on >6,000 P. vivax cases from across the globe. Using this data, Dr Auburn’s team will develop an online platform with analytical tools to identify the main reservoirs of infection, how parasites are spreading within and across national borders, and how effectively interventions have impacted on parasite transmission.

Dr Michelle Boyle was awarded $2,060,189 to investigate host targeted adjunctive therapies to boost antimalarial immunity. One problem in developing new control strategies for malaria is that following a malaria infection, individuals develop disruptive immune responses that block vaccines. Dr Boyle’s project will investigate the ability of a repurposed drug to prevent the development of disruptive immune responses during malaria in humans. Results of the studies will inform the development of new malaria control tools.

 

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