Pathogenesis and Immunity in Malaria

Research Overview

Stephen’s laboratory studies the pathogenesis and immunology of infection with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in humans. Their laboratory studies are linked to field studies, and they collaborate with leading malaria groups in Africa, Asia and Papua New Guinea.

The laboratory is particularly interested in malaria in pregnant women and young children, who suffer most from the disease. We use a number of different in vitro systems to study how Plasmodium falciparum malaria infected cells interact with the human immune system. We have a particular interest in understanding how antibody interacts with white blood cells to clear infection, and how this functional antibody immunity can be used to accelerate the development of malaria vaccines.

Our group hosts the Australian Centre for Research Excellence in Malaria Elimination, ACREME. ACREME is a partnership of researchers from across Australia and around our region which is working together to develop new tools for the surveillance, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of malaria, to facilitate the regional goal of malaria elimination from the Asia Pacific by 2030.


  • Professor Stephen Rogerson
  • Associate Professor Siddhartha Mahanty
  • Dr Elizabeth Aitken, Senior Research Officer
  • Dr Julia Cutts, Project Manager, ACREME
  • Dr Madi Njie, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Dr Louise Randall, Senior Research Officer
  • Ms Wina Hasang, Research Assistant
  • Dr Agersew Mengist, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Mr Meseret Kassa, PhD Student
  • Ms Dilini Rathnayake, PhD Student
  • Ms Amaya Ortega, PhD Student
  • Ms Isobel Walker, PhD Student
  • Ms Kaylene Cheng, Masters Student
  • Mr Abdul Abdulrahman, PhD Student
  • Professor Graham Brown, Emeritus Professor


  • INV-002781: PI Ter Kuile / Role: Co-Investigator
    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; 1/11/2019 – 31/10/2021
    “Anti-inflammatory effects of SP for intermittent preventive treatment”. The project examines whether modulation of innate immune responses and/or acute phase responses by SP explains some of its effects on fetal growth in utero.
  • APP108442: PIs: Vallely, Pomat?? / Role: Co-Investigator
    DFID/MRC/Wellcome Trust Joint Global Health Trials (JGHT) Grant; 1/1/2015 – 31/12/2020
    “Cluster randomized crossover trial to evaluate point-of-care testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections to improve birth outcomes in high-burden, low-income settings”. The project studies health system implementation, cost-effectiveness and acceptability of antenatal point-of-care testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections to improve birth outcomes.
  • APP1092789: PIs: Cowman, Crabb, Beeson, Mueller, Rogerson.
    NHMRC Program Grant; 1/1/2016 – 31/12/2021
    “Understanding malaria in the human host”. This program includes studies of malaria immunity, epidemiology, pathogenesis and biology. We will develop new tools to control and eliminate vivax and falciparum malaria in infected countries in our region.
  • APP1134989: PIs: Rogerson, Price, Simpson, Beeson, McCarthy, McCaw, Anstey, Mueller, Gething and Fowkes
    01/11/2017 –31/10/2022
    “NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Malaria Elimination”. I coordinate a program developing new tools and approaches for surveillance, diagnosis and treatment of malaria, and applying advanced statistics, mathematical modelling and geospatial mapping to malaria elimination in the Asia Pacific.
  • APP1143946: PIs: Rogerson, Aitken, Chung
    NHMRC Project Grant; 1/1/2018 – 31/12/2021
    “A novel approach to identify the specific antibody characteristics important for protection from malaria in pregnant women”. This project will identify functional antibodies to VAR2CSA, the protein responsible for placental malaria, and the antigenic targets of these antibodies, using a Systems Serology approach.
  • OPP1169939: PIs: Phiri and Pasricha / Role: Co-Investigator
    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; 1/9/2017 – 30/06/2020
    “Randomized controlled trial of the Effect of intraVenous iron on Anaemia in Malawian Pregnant women (REVAMP)”. The study evaluates the safety and effectiveness of IV ferric carboxymaltose compared to oral iron for treatment of maternal anemia, and adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes including malaria in Malawian pregnant women.

Research Publications

  1. Unger HW, Ome-Kaius M, Wangnapi W... 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.
  2. Rogerson SJ, Desai M, Mayor A, et al. Burden, pathology, and costs of malaria in pregnancy: new developments for an old problem. Lancet Infect Dis. 2018 Apr;18(4):e107-e118.
  3. Cates JE, Unger HW, Briand V… Rogerson S. Malaria, malnutrition, and birthweight: A meta-analysis using individual participant data. PLoS Med. 2017 Aug 8;14(8):e1002373.
  4. Rogerson SJ, Beeson JG, Laman M, Poespoprodjo JR, William T, Simpson JA, Price RN; ACREME Investigators. Identifying and combating the impacts of COVID-19 on malaria.
    BMC Med. 2020 Jul 30;18(1):239. doi: 10.1186/s12916-020-01710-x.
  5. Rambhatla JS, Turner L, Manning L, … Rogerson SJ. Acquisition of Antibodies Against Endothelial Protein C Receptor-Binding Domains of Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 in Children with Severe Malaria. J Infect Dis. 2019 Feb 15;219(5):808-818

Research Projects

For project inquiries, contact our research group head.

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine, Women's Health, Infectious Diseases and Immunity

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Research Group Leader Professor Stephen Rogerson

Department / Centre

Infectious Diseases

Unit / Centre

Pathogenesis and Immunity in Malaria

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