Malaria Parasite Molecular Laboratory (M2PL)

In light of emerging infectious diseases, the ability to eliminate age-old scourges like malaria is even more important. Malaria is still the most lethal tropical infectious disease and is particularly devastating on the African continent. Our work focusses on solution-oriented research to create health innovations for malaria elimination and to address the societal challenges associated with the disease in South Africa and globally.

Under Prof Lyn-Marié Birkholtz, we focus on the most deadly of the human malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum.  We work at the interface between parasite biology and drug discovery and use the new biological insights we gain from studying different life cycle forms of the malaria parasite as a catalyst for drug discovery.  We focus on the pathogenic processes driving proliferation and differentiation of malaria parasites.  Our expertise lies in identifying chemical entities that block malaria parasite transmission between humans and mosquitoes. If we can achieve this, we will be able to stop the spread of the disease and as such contribute new tools to malaria elimination strategies

Under Dr Jandeli Niemand, we focus on the most prevalent of malaria parasites in Africa, Plasmodium falciparum. We investigate essential parasite processes targetable during both proliferation and differentiation with a specific focus on membrane transport processes and system’s level understanding of the parasite’s nutrient requirements.

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