Professor James McCarthy commenced his clinical and research training in Melbourne, Australia. He continued his training at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine before moving to positions at the University of Maryland Medical Center and at the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases of the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. In 2002, James joined QIMR Berghofer where he leads the Clinical Tropical Medicine laboratory (CTM) and develops and applies clinical trial systems that entail deliberate infection of human volunteers with malaria to evaluate candidate antimalarial vaccines and drugs.
Current QIMR Berghofer appointment
- 2002 – current: Senior Scientist, Clinical Tropical Medicine Laboratory and Program Coordinator, Infectious Diseases, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
Other current appointments
- 2002 – current: Professor of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases, The University of Queensland, School of Medicine
- 2002 – current: Senior Consultant, Infectious Diseases Physician, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
Current Area of Research
The Clinical Tropical Medicine (CTM) Laboratory is a research group led by Professor James McCarthy within QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane, Australia.
CTM aims to improve human health by contributing to the control of human parasitic diseases, particularly malaria. The main research themes of CTM are:
- To evaluate the safety and activity of candidate antimalarial drugs and vaccines using the Induced Blood Stage Malaria (IBSM) model
- To investigate the biology of malaria parasites
- To investigate other parasitic tropical diseases, specifically scabies and helminth infections.
CTM developed an IBSM model to evaluate the safety and activity of candidate antimalarial drugs and vaccines. This model shortens the time required to clinically evaluate candidate antimalarials compared to testing in the field. During 2017, CTM extended the IBSM model to evaluate transmission-blocking interventions and antimalarial chemoprophylactic drugs, as well as developed master cell banks and systems to study artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum and for other Plasmodium species.
Research conducted by CTM has enhanced our understanding of the biology of the malaria parasite, and the human host response to infection. This research has provided developmental opportunities for higher degree and early career researchers, and has facilitated national and international collaborations. A Quality Management System incorporating the requirements of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) has been implemented to improve the safety and efficiency of the IBSM model. Molecular assays based on qPCR techniques have been developed and validated for parasite quantification, and new assays for determining parasite lifecycle stages are being developed and validated. Colonies of malaria vector mosquitoes and feeding assay methods have been established to evaluate the transmission-blocking potential of candidate drugs and vaccines. CTM is currently using in vitro assays that use flow cytometry, PCR assays and genomics to understand the biology of the malaria parasite, such as drug resistance and parasite dormancy.
Pharmacometric and population models have been developed from IBSM studies to plan optimal dosages for single therapy and combinations of drugs; to integrate information from pre-clinical and animal models; and to relate clinical observations to diagnostic biomarkers. Statisticians within CTM have developed innovative study designs, sampling plans, and analytical methods for IBSM studies and meta-analyses.
CTM has collaborations with national and international research groups that are well established in parasite molecular and cell biology, pharmacometric modelling, mathematical biology, immunology, clinical studies in endemic settings, and with other groups conducting CHMI trials.
Professor James McCarthy’s complete list of publications can be viewed at his National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) bibliography page.
- Australian Society for Infectious Diseases
- Royal Australasian College of Physicians
- American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
- Infectious Diseases Society of America
- Australian Medical Association
- 2017: Sornchai Looareesuwan Medal for significant achievements in malaria research (presented at the Joint International Tropical Medicine Meeting)
- 2017: Ralph Doherty QIMR Berghofer Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Medical Research
- 2017: Honorary International Fellow of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH)
- 1993: Fellow, Royal Australasian College of Physicians
- 1997: MD, The University of Melbourne
- 1990: Diploma of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Royal College of Physicians of London
- 1984: MBBS, The University of Melbourne