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

Research Overview

The Rogerson laboratory studies the pathogenesis and immunity of malaria infection in the human host. We use in vitro models and clinical samples 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 and gamma delta T cells, in both laboratory and clinical studies. We study how both adipose tissue responses, and placental sugars, may modify the immune response to malaria. A developing area of interest is novel approaches to identifying antibody responses that protect pregnant women and young children from malaria.


Dr Louise Randall, Senior Post Doctoral Scientist
Dr Elizabeth Aitken, Postdoctoral Scientist (Maternity Leave)
Ms Christelle Buffet, Research Assistant
Ms Wina Hasang, Research Assistant
A/Prof Siddartha Maharty, Senior Research Fellow
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 Agersew Mengist, PhD Student
Ms Rumona Akter, PhD Student
Ms Di Zheng, Masters Student
Mr Yu Khong Low, Honours Student
Ms Isobel Walker, Honours Student
Dr Holger Unger, Visiting Scientist


Prof James Beeson, A/Prof Anthony Jaworowski and Dr Ricardo Ataide, Burnet Institute
Prof Ivo Mueller, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI)
A/Prof Jo Said, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Melbourne
Prof Bill Heath, Dr Adam Uldrich and Dr Amy Chung, Department of Microbiology & Immunology,  Doherty Institute, The University of Melbourne
Dr Leanne Robinson, Papua New Guinea Institute 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 Grand Challenges 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 Publications

1. 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. Intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in Papua New Guinean infants exposed to Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax: a randomized controlled trial. PLoS Med 201; 9(3):e1001195.

2. Taylor SM, Antonia AL, Chaluluka E, Mwapasa V, Feng G, Molyneux ME, Ter Kuile FO, Meshnick SR, ROGERSON SJ. 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 2012; 55(1):42-50.

3. Boeuf P, Aitken E, Chandrasiri U, Chua C, McInerney B, McQuade L, Duffy M, Molyneux M, Brown G, Glazier J, ROGERSON SJ. Plasmodium falciparum malaria elicits inflammatory responses that dysregulate placental amino acid transport. PLoS Pathog 2013; 9(2):e1003153

4. Conroy AL, Silver KL, Zhong K, Rennie M, Ward P, Sarma JV, Molyneux ME, Sled J, Fletcher JF, ROGERSON SJ, Kain KC. Complement activation, placental vascular insufficiency and fetal growth restriction in placental malaria. Cell Host and Microbe 2013; 13(2):215-26.

5. 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. Does malaria affect placental development? Evidence from in vitro models. PLoS One 2013; 8(1):e55269.

6. Walker PG, Griffin JT, Cairns M, ROGERSON SJ, van Eijk AM, ter Kuile F, Ghani AC. A model of parity-dependent immunity to placental malaria. Nat Commun 2013; 4:1609.

7. Chandrasiri UP, Chua CL, Umbers AJ, Chaluluka E, Glazier JD, ROGERSON SJ, Boeuf P. Insight Into the Pathogenesis of Fetal Growth Restriction in Placental Malaria: Decreased Placental Glucose Transporter Isoform 1 Expression. J Infect Dis 2014; 209(10):1663-7.

8. Umbers AJ, Aitken EH, Rogerson SJ. Malaria in pregnancy: small babies, big problem. Trends Parasitol 2011; 27(4):168-75. (Review).

9. 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; 13(1):9.

10. ROGERSON SJ, Unger HW. Prevention and control of malaria in pregnancy - new threats, new opportunities? Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther 2017;15(4):361-375.

11. Chandrasiri UP, Fowkes FJ, Beeson JG, Richards JS, Kamiza S, Maleta K, Ashorn P, ROGERSON SJ. Association between malaria immunity and pregnancy outcomes among Malawian pregnant women receiving nutrient supplementation. Malar J 2016; 15(1):547.

12. Teo A, Feng G, Brown GV, Beeson JG, ROGERSON. Functional Antibodies and Protection against Blood-stage Malaria.Trends Parasitol. 2016; 32(11):887-898.

13. Unger HW, Ashorn P, Cates JE, Dewey KG, ROGERSON SJ. Undernutrition and malaria in pregnancy - a dangerous dyad? BMC Med 2016;

14(1):142. 14. Unger HW, Wangnapi RA, Ome-Kaius M, Boeuf P, Karl S, Mueller I, , ROGERSON SJ. Azithromycin-containing intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy affects gestational weight gain, an important predictor of birthweight in Papua New Guinea - an exploratory analysis. Matern Child Nutr 2016; 12(4):699-712.

15. Zhou J, Feng G, Beeson J, Hogarth PM, , ROGERSON SJ, Yan Y, Jaworowski A. CD14(hi)CD16+ monocytes phagocytose antibody-opsonised Plasmodium falciparum infected erythrocytes more efficiently than other monocyte subsets, and require CD16 and complement to do so. BMC Med 2015;13: 154.