Human Malaria Immunology

Dr Michelle Boyle

Team Head

The Human Malaria Immunology Group’s goal is to inform the development of effective malaria vaccines by defining functional mechanisms of antibodies that target the parasite, and the development of protective antibodies in humans.

Currently, the most advanced malaria vaccine has only 36 per cent efficacy, with efficacy further reduced in infants and in populations with high prior malaria exposure. We aim to inform the development of next-generation malaria vaccines by:

  1. identifying and characterising key functional mechanisms of antibodies that mediate protection,
  2. defining the key cellular mechanisms that promote the generation of functional antibodies, and
  3. quantifying the impact of host age and prior malaria exposure on antibody development.


  • identifying the induction and maintenance of T-follicular helper cells in malaria, and the role of specific Tfh subsets in antibody induction. Compare protective Tfh responses in malaria to other pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2
  • identify antigen presenting cells which driven antibody development during human malaria
  • quantify the impact of host age on development of immunity to malaria
  • apply single cell transcription technology to quantify cellular responses in human malaria infection
  • characterise the development of functional antibodies that inhibit malaria growth


Internal Collaborators

External Collaborators

  • Professor James McCarthy, Doherty
  • Dr Ash Haque, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Danny Wilson, Adelaide Univeristy
  • Professor James Beeson, Burnet Institute
  • Dr Gabriela Minigo, Charles Darwin University
  • Assistant Professor, Prasanna Jagannathan, Stanford
  • Dr Margret Feeney, University of California
  • Professor Faith Osier, Heildelberg University
  • Professor Nick Anstey, Menzies School of Health Research
  • Career Development Fellowship to Dr Boyle (2018-2022), NHMRC Ideas Grant (2020-2022), NHMRC


Single cell genomic technologies in human malaria immunology

Projects can be adapted to suit Honours, Masters and PhD level students Single cell genomic platforms off unprecedented ability to characterise heterogeneity of cell populations. We are applying single cell RNA and ATAC sequencing to understand human immune response to malaria infection. Our key goals are to identify key cellular subsets and responses that drive […]

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