Our People

Jessica Loughland

Dr | Research Officer

Human Malaria Immunology

07 3845 3736



Dr Jessica Loughland’s PhD was awarded in August 2017 at the Menzies School of Health Research.  Dr Loughland received First Class Honours in 2012 and was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal and the Chief Ministers Award for Science. Following completion of her Honours, Dr Loughland embarked on a PhD evaluating human dendritic cell subset function in malaria. In this position, she developed expertise in studying cellular immune responses in malaria-naive adults using the Controlled Human Malaria Infection clinical trials as well as in adults and children living in malaria endemic countries.

Currently, Dr Loughland is a Research Officer at QIMRB in the Human Malaria Immunology laboratory. Under the supervision and mentorship of Dr Michelle Boyle, her research focuses on understanding innate immune cell function using unique human malaria cohorts. Other research interests include understanding T follicular helper cell function in human malaria and ultimately identifying which innate immune cells optimally activate the desired T follicular helper response to induce long-lived antibodies during malaria.


  • 2018-present Research Officer, Human Malaria Immunology, QIMR-Berghofer Medical Research institute


  • 2017-2018 Research Officer, Menzies School of Health Research




Dr Loughland is currently employed as a Research Officer at QIMR-Berghofer in the Human Malaria Immunology group and is supervised by Dr Michelle Boyle. The Boyle Lab are focused on identifying cellular mechanisms that drive the induction of protective antibodies to human infection. The group primarily focuses on Plasmodium parasite infection, the causative parasite of malaria using human cohort of experimental and natural infection to understand immune development. Within the program, Dr Loughland leads the innate immune response arm of this research. Dr Loughland is focused on understanding our innate immune cell subsets are manipulated during malaria infection and how the malaria parasite subverts the function of innate immune cells. Innate immune cells are integral to the development of proper adaptive immune responses. By harnessing optimal innate immune cell function, Dr Loughland aims to improve vaccine responsiveness in malaria endemic populations.


  • Characterising human dendritic cell function in malaria
  • Characterising human monocyte function in malaria
  • Identifying innate cell hyper-responsiveness to toll-like receptor stimulation in malaria
  • Defining the key cellular mechanisms that promote the generation of functional antibodies
  • Quantifying the impact of host age and prior malaria exposure on innate cell function, T-follicular helper cell function and antibody development.


  • Australian and New Zealand Society of Immunology Inc.


  • 2020 ACREME Seed Grant funding
  • 2020 ACREME Travel Award
  • 2017 Travel Award ASI
  • 2016 Invited speaker: DC down under, Australian Symposium on Dendritic cells, Sydney, Australia
  • 2014 Travel Award ASI
  • 2013 ASI, Adelaide Immunology Retreat, 3rd best presentation
  • 2012 Chief Minister’s Award for Science
  • 2012 Chancellor’s Medal (CDU) for best Honours Thesis
  • 2012 School of Environment Award


  • 2017 Doctor of Philosophy, Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, Supervisors: Dr Tonia Woodberry, Dr Gabriela Minigo, Prof Nicholas Anstey
  • 2012 Bachelor of Science (First Class Honours), Charles Darwin University
  • 2010 Bachelor of Science (Molecular Biology and Genetics), The University of Sydney, Double Major: Biochemistry and Biology