Innate immune responses to Plasmodium falciparum infected erythrocytes

Project Details

The project takes place in Melbourne and in Blantyre, Malawi
Our aims are
1. To determine whether parasite binding phenotype helps drive the innate immune response to Plasmodium falciparum infected erythrocytes
2.To discover whether binding phenotype and gene expression of clinical isolates influences cytokine secretion in vivo and in vitro. We are collecting malaria parasites from Malawian children with severe or mild malaria, and will examine the immune responses they generate from white blood cells.
3. To compare the proportions of different monocyte subsets and their uptake of malaria infected cells, using samples from children with severe and mild malaria. Follow up studies after recovery are also done.
4. To understand the roles of intermediate monocytes in clearance of malaria and cytokine response, and its possible importance in
severe malaria.

Our outcome of interest is an improved understanding of how host and parasite combinations increase risk of severe malaria.


Dr Elizabeth Aitken, Postdoctoral Scientist
Ms Marzieh Jabbarzare, PhD Student
Mr Madi Njie, PhD Student


A/Prof Anthony Jaworowski, Burnet Institute
Dr Adam Uldrich, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Doherty Institute, The University of Melbourne
Dr Wilson Mandala, Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme, College of Medicine, Blantyre Malawi
Prof Terrie Taylor and Dr Karl Seydel, Blantyre Malaria Project, College of Medicine, Blantyre Malawi.


NHMRC Project Grant 'How the malaria parasite and the host response to the parasite combine to increase risk of severe malaria'

Research Outcomes

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.
Zhou J, Feng G, Beeson J, Hogarth PM, Rogerson SJ, Yan Y, Jaworowski A.
BMC Med. 2015 Jul 7;13:154. doi: 10.1186/s12916-015-0391-7.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells derived from grand multigravidae display a distinct cytokine profile in response to P. falciparum infected erythrocytes.
Ludlow LE, Hasang W, Umbers AJ, Forbes EK, Ome M, Unger HW, Mueller I, Siba PM, Jaworowski A, Rogerson SJ.
PLoS One. 2014 Jan 22;9(1):e86160. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086160. eCollection 2014.

Research Group

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology, Child Health

School Research Themes

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

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre


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