By: Lili Xu

Opponent: Adrian, Luty, Associate Professor (University Paris Descartes)

Host: Professor Klavs Berzins

Title: Studies on malaria blood stage infection and host responses

The challenges in controlling malaria infectious disease are increasing due to drug resistance and incomplete immunity induced by malaria infection. Moreover there is no effective vaccine available against malaria blood stage infection. Fortunately the completions of the genomic sequences of several Plasmodium species and their bioinformatic analyses have revealed gene homologies indicating the considerable homologies between the human parasite P. falciparum and the mouse parasite P. yoelii. We investigated intensively the presence of functionally and antigenically conserved domains between P. falciparum and P. yoelii at asexual blood-stages. We took advantage of P. yoelii infection to study malaria anemia in a mouse malaria model that focused on cytokines and the cells producing them. Moreover, we explored antibodies reactive with the intraerythrocytic parasite antigen Pf332 for their effect on parasite growth in vitro in cooperation with human monocytes. Taken together, the whole study unlocks a few windows of malaria infection in host responses and we may need to change our strategies in fighting against malaria parasites by enlarging our scope of choosing components as vaccine candidates to control the disease.