Rogerson Laboratory: Pathogenesis of malaria and immunity in children and pregnant women

  • Group Leader

    Professor Stephen Rogerson
    T: +61 3 8344 3259
    Location: Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Building 248, The University of Melbourne
    W: Personal web page

Research Overview

The Rogerson laboratory studies several aspects of the pathogenesis and immunity of malaria infection in the human host. We use in vitro models and clinical samaaples from individuals in malaria-affected countries , most notably Malawi and Papua New Guinea, in our studies. More recently we have begun collaborations on the development of new diagnostics for malaria.

Our laboratory has performed world-leading research on how malaria in the mother affects the development and function of the human placenta, and the growth and development of her baby. We also work on severe malaria- understanding why some children develop life threatening infections, while others with similar exposure either remain well or develop mild illness.

We have a strong interest in the early, innate cellular immune response to malaria infection.Current studies examine the roles of white blood cells including monocytes , gamma delta T cells and others, in both laboratory and clinical studies.    We study how both adipose tissue responses, and placental sugars, may modify the immune response to malaria.


Dr Louise Randall, Senior Post Doctoral Scientist
Dr Elizabeth Aitken, Postdoctoral Scientist
Ms Christelle Buffet, Research Assistant
Ms Wina Hasang, Research Assistant (maternity leave)

Mr Madi Njie,  PhD Student
Ms Marzieh Jabbarzare, PhD Student
Ms Priyanka Barua, Ph D Student
Ms Janavi Rambhatla, PhD Student
Ms Analeena Anthony, PhD Student
Mr Jordan Kirby, Honours Student
Ms Andie Bleicher, Honours Student
Dr Holger Unger, visiting scientist


Prof James Beeson, Burnet Institute
A/Prof Anthony Jaworowski, Burnet Institute
Prof Ivo Mueller, Watlter and Eliza Hall Institute
A/Prof Jo Said, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Melbourne
Dr Adam Uldrich, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Doherty Institute, The University of Melbourne
Prof Bill Heath, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Doherty Institute, The University of Melbourne
Dr Leanne Robinson, Papua New Guinea Institue of Medical Research and WEHI
Dr Wilson Mandala, Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme, Malawi
Prof Terrie Taylor and Dr Karl Seydel, Blantyre Malaria Project, Malawi
Prof Steven Meshnick, University of North Carolina USA
Prof Patrick Kwan, Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne
Prof Stan Skafidas, Centre for Neural Engineering, The University of Melbourne
Dr Holger Unger, University of Edinburgh
A/Prof Julie Moore, University of Georgia, Athens GA USA

PRof Ali Salanti and Dr Thomas Lavstsen, Centre for Medical Parasitology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark


National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia: Program Grant (Cowman, Crabb, Beeeson, Mueller, Rogerson): 'Understanding malaria in the human host'
NHMRC: Project Grants to S Rogerson and A Jaworowski , and to L Randall and J Said
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation GrandChallenges Explorations 'Development of an Ultra-Sensitive Non-Invasive Point-of-Care Immunosensor for Malaria Elimination in the Asia Pacific Region'
Thrasher Foundation 'Intermittent treatment in pregnancy with azithromycin - does it work by ablating inflammation?'

The University of Melbourne

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Publications

1.Umbers AJ, Boeuf P, Clapham C, Stanisic D, Baiwog F, Mueller I, Beeson J, Glazier J, ROGERSON S.J (2010). Placental malaria-associated inflammation disturbs the insulin-like growth factor axis of fetal growth regulation. J Infect Dis. 203(4):561-9. Epub 2011 Jan 7.
2.Silver KL, Conroy AL, Leke RG, Leke RJ, Gwanmesia P, Molyneux ME, Wallace DT, ROGERSON SJ, Kain KC (2011). Circulating soluble endoglin levels in pregnant women in Cameroon and Malawi – associations with placental malaria and fetal growth restriction. PLoS One.6(9):e24985.
3.Conroy AL, Liles WC, Molyneux ME, ROGERSON SJ, Kain KC. (2011). Performance characteristics of combinations of host biomarkers to identify women with occult placental malaria: a case-control study from Malawi. PLoS One. 6(12):e28540. Epub 2011 Dec 12. PMID: 22174834.
4.Ludlow LE, Zhou J, Tippett E, Cheng W-J, Hasang W, ROGERSON SJ, Jaworowski A. (2012) HIV-1 inhibits phagocytosis and inflammatory cytokine responses of human monocyte-derived macrophages to P. falciparum infected erythrocytes. PLoS One. 7(2):e32102.
5.Senn N, Rarau P, Stanisic DI, Robinson L, Barnadas C, Manong D, Salib M, Iga J, Tarongka N, Ley S, Rosanas-Urgell A, Aponte JJ, Zimmerman PA, Beeson JG, Schofield L, Siba P, ROGERSON SJ, Reeder JC, Mueller I. (2012) Intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in Papua New Guinean infants exposed to Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax: a randomized controlled trial. PLoS Med. 9(3):e1001195.
6.Taylor SM, Antonia AL, Chaluluka E, Mwapasa V, Feng G, Molyneux ME, Ter Kuile FO, Meshnick SR, ROGERSON SJ. (2012) Antenatal receipt of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine does not exacerbate pregnancy-associated malaria despite the expansion of drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum: Clinical outcomes from the QuEERPAM Study. Clin Infect Dis. 55(1):42-50.
7.Zhou J, Ludlow LE, Hasang W, ROGERSON SJ, Jaworowski A. (2012) Opsonization of malaria-infected erythrocytes activates the inflammasome and enhances inflammatory cytokine secretion by human macrophages. Malar J. 11(1):343.
8.Boeuf P, Aitken E, Chandrasiri U, Chua C, McInerney B, McQuade L, Duffy M,  Molyneux M, Brown G, Glazier J, ROGERSON SJ. (2013) Plasmodium falciparum malaria elicits inflammatory responses that dysregulate placental amino acid transport. PLoS Pathog. 9(2):e1003153
9.Conroy AL, Silver KL, Zhong K, Rennie M, Ward P, Sarma JV, Molyneux ME, Sled J, Fletcher JF, ROGERSON SJ, Kain KC (2013) Complement activation, placental vascular insufficiency and fetal growth restriction in placental malaria. Cell Host and Microbe. 13(2):215-26.
10.Umbers AJ, Stanisic DI, Ome M, Wangnapi R, Hanieh S, Unger HW, Robinson LJ, Lufele E, Baiwog F, Siba PM, King CL, Beeson JG, Mueller I, Aplin JD, Glazier JD, ROGERSON SJ. (2013) Does malaria affect placental development? Evidence from in vitro models. PLoS One. 8(1):e55269.
11.Walker PG, Griffin JT, Cairns M, ROGERSON SJ, van Eijk AM, ter Kuile F, Ghani AC. (2013) A model of parity-dependent immunity to placental malaria. Nat Commun. 4:1609.
12.Chandrasiri UP, Chua CL, Umbers AJ, Chaluluka E, Glazier JD, ROGERSON SJ, Boeuf P. (2014) Insight Into the Pathogenesis of Fetal Growth Restriction in Placental Malaria: Decreased Placental Glucose Transporter Isoform 1 Expression. J Infect Dis. 2014 Jan 10.
13.Ludlow LE, Hasang W, Umbers AJ, Forbes EK, Ome M, Unger HW, Mueller I, Siba PM, Jaworowski A, ROGERSON SJ. (2014) Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells Derived from Grand Multigravidae Display a Distinct Cytokine Profile in Response to P. falciparum Infected Erythrocytes. PLoS One. 9(1):e86160.  
14.Umbers AJ, Aitken EH, Rogerson SJ. (2011). Malaria in pregnancy: small babies, big problem. Trends Parasitol. 27(4):168-75. (Review).
15.Unger HW, Ome-Kaius M, Wangnapi RA, Umbers AJ, Hanieh S, Suen CS, Robinson LJ, Rosanas-Urgell A, Wapling J, Lufele E, Kongs C, Samol P, Sui D, Singirok D, Bardaji A, Schofield L, Menendez C, Betuela I, Siba P, Mueller I, Rogerson SJ. Sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine plus azithromycin for the prevention of low birthweight in Papua New Guinea: a randomised controlled trial. BMC Med. 2015 Jan 16;13(1):9.