Associate Professor | Team Head
Associate Professor Bridget Barber is Team Head of the Clinical Malaria group at QIMR Berghofer and an Infectious Diseases Physician at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. She completed her PhD in 2014 at Menzies School of Health Research with Professor Nicholas Anstey. For her PhD, she established a clinical research site in Sabah, Malaysia and led a large tertiary-hospital based prospective study of the epidemiology, clinical and pathophysiological features of knowlesi, falciparum and vivax malaria. Following her PhD she was awarded an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship to continue her malaria research in Malaysia.
Her outputs from her studies in Malaysia have made a major contribution to the current understanding of knowlesi malaria. This has included the first descriptions of the use of intravenous artesunate for the treatment of knowlesi malaria; the first systematic evaluations of microscopy and rapid diagnostic tests for the diagnosis of P. knowlesi; the first descriptions of knowlesi malaria in children and in pregnancy; and first detailed reports of pathogenesis of knowlesi malaria.
She has also led studies demonstrating the increase in knowlesi malaria in Sabah as the human malaria species approach elimination and has implemented a state-wide malaria surveillance study in Sabah. She was involved in randomised controlled trials in knowlesi and vivax malaria and most recently led a randomised controlled trial of paracetamol for the attenuation of acute kidney injury in knowlesi malaria. Bridget joined Professor James McCarthy’s group at QIMR Berghofer in 2018, and now leads the Clinical Malaria group in conducting malaria volunteer infection studies.
2019-current: Team Head, Clinical Malaria, QIMR Berghofer
2019-current: Associate Professor, Menzies School of Health Research
2019-current: Infectious Diseases Physician, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
2018-2019: Research Fellow, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
2016-2019: Infectious Diseases Physician, Ipswich Hospital
2013-2018: Senior Research Fellow, Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin
2012-2013: Infectious Diseases Physician, Epworth Eastern, Victoria
2010-2013: PhD Student, Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin
Associate Professor Barber heads the Clinical Malaria Group, which focuses on using the induced blood stage malaria (IBSM) model to evaluate antimalarials in healthy human volunteers and to improve understanding of parasite biology and of host response to disease.
In addition, she continues to work with collaborators at Menzies School of Health Research and in Sabah, Malaysia, to study the emergence of zoonotic knowlesi malaria as Malaysia approaches elimination of the human-only malaria species. Bridget utilises samples from both volunteer infection studies at QIMR Berghofer and from clinical studies in Malaysia to investigate comparative pathophysiological mechanisms of disease in severe falciparum, vivax and knowlesi malaria, with the aim of identifying targets for adjunctive treatment.
2019: completion of an RCT evaluating paracetamol for the attenuation of acute kidney injury in knowlesi malaria
2013-2020: Senior author on a series of papers reporting the ongoing increase in knowlesi malaria in Sabah, Malaysia, as the human-only malaria species are brought under control
2013: completion of first systematic evaluation of microscopy and rapid diagnostic tests for the diagnosis of knowlesi malaria. Highlighted the importance of PCR for diagnosing P. knowlesi malaria
2013: completion of first prospective study to compare in the same population the clinical and biochemical features of knowlesi, vivax and falciparum malaria. Demonstrated that P. knowlesi was at least as likely as P. falciparum to cause severe disease, and that parasitemia and older age were major risk factors. Also demonstrated that intravenous artesunate was highly effective for the treatment of severe knowlesi malaria
2014: Doctor of Philosophy, Menzies School of Health Research and Charles Darwin University
2010: Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians
2010: Masters of Public Health, University of Melbourne
2007: Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (Distinction), University of Liverpool, UK
2001: Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, University of Melbourne