Informing the development of effective malaria vaccines 

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.

Our research is focused predominately in humans. We leverage human samples from controlled human malaria infection models and human clinical cohorts of malaria infection, and apply these clinical samples to in vitro systems.

We have shown that a large proportion of antibodies that target the blood stage of malaria infection require complement fixation to prevent RBC infection (Boyle et al, Immunity, 2015).

Antibody development requires the correct activation of CD4 T cells during infection. Using a large clinical cohort of children and adults from Uganda, we have shown that the development of malaria-specific CD4 T cells is independently affected by age and prior malaria exposure.

We are currently focused on defining the role of T-follicular helper cell in the induction of functional antibodies against malaria.

We are collaborating with the Haque (QIMR-Berghofer) and Teichmanm (Sanger) groups to apply single-cell mRNA sequencing technologies to the mapping of T-follicular populations during infection.

Informing the development of effective malaria vaccines by defining functional mechanisms of antibodies that target the parasite, and the development of protective antibodies in humans.

  • Cell signalling & cell differentiation
  • Disease mechanisms, pathogens, molecular medicine, stem cells
  • Gene regulation, transcription, chromatin & epigenetics
  • Infection & immunity

Highlight publications

Published In

 Burns AL, Dans MG, Balbin JM, deKoning-Ward T, Gilson RP, Beeson JG, Boyle MJ, Wilson DW

FEMS Microbiology Reviews fuz005 (2019).

Reiling L, Boyle MJ, White M, Wilson D, Feng G, Weaver R, Opi HD, Person KEM, Richards JS, Siba PM, Fowkes FJI, Takashima E, Tsuboi T, Mueller I, Beeson JG

Targets of complement-fixing antibodies in protective immunity against malaria in children

Nature Communications volume 10, Article number: 610 (2019)

Beeson JG, Kurtovic L, Dobano C, Opi DH, Chan JA, Feng G, Good MF, Reiling L, Boyle MJ,. (2019).

Challenges and strategies for developing highly efficacious and long-lasting malaria vaccines.

Science Translational Medicine, 11 (474).

Chan JA, Drew DR, Reiling L, Lisboa-Pinto A, Dinko B, Sutherland CJ, Dent AE, Chelimo K, Kazura JW, Boyle MJ, Beeson JG

Low levels of human antibodies to gametocyte-infected erythrocytes contrasts the PfEMP1-dominant response to asexual states in P. falciparum malaria

Frontiers in Immunology, 2019, 9:3126.

Oyong D, Kenangalem E, Poespoprodjo JR, Beeson JG, Anstey NM, Price R, Boyle MJ., (2018).

Loss of complement regulatory proteins on uninfected but not infected red blood cells in P. vivax andP. falciparum malaria.

JCI Insight, 2018, Nov 15;3(22).

Chan JA, Boyle MJ, Reiling L, Moore K, Lin Z, Hasang W, Avril M, Manning L, Mueller I, Laman M, Davis T, Smith JD, Rogerson SJ, Simpson JA, Fowkes FJI, Beeson JG., (2018).

Antibody targets on the surface of P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes that are associated with immunity to severe malaria in young children.

Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2018 Oct, epub ahead of print.

Loughland JR, Woodberry T, Boyle MJ, Tipping PE, Piera KA, Amante FH, Kenangalem E, Price RN, Engwerda CR, Anstey NM, McCarthy JS, Minigo G., (2018).

Plasmodium falciparum activates CD16+ dendritic cells to produce TNF and IL-10 in subpatent malaria.

Journal of Infectious Diseases, Sept 2018, epub ahead of print.

Feng G*, Boyle MJ*, Cross N, Chan JA, Reiling L, Osier F, Stanisic D, Mueller I, Anders RF, McCarthy JS, Richards JS, Beeson JG

Human immunization with a polymorphic malaria vaccine candidate induced antibodies to conserved epitopes that promote functional antibodies to multiple parasite strains

Journal of Infectious Diseases, Jul 2018, 218; 1. *Joint first author