Immune Responses - Project C1

Title - t.b.a.

Host lab: Leif Sander (HUB, Charité)


Partner lab: Ian Cockburn (ANU)


There is common consensus that successful eliminating of malaria will require the implementation of an efficacious vaccine against the disease. Thus far, most vaccine candidates provide only modest and rather short-lived protection in the field. Live P. falciparum sporozoites (PfSPZ) have shown promise in healthy volunteers, yet appear to provide short-lived protection in highly endemic areas.


Previously, we set out to investigate the innate immune recognition mechanisms of live plasmodia in order to identify potential targets and hurdles for successful vaccination. Particularly, we are interested in the recognition of plasmodial RNA in antigen presenting cells (APCs).


For the next period of our graduate program, we aim to investigate how innate immune recognition of P. falciparum (sporozoites and blood stage parasites) or their ligands shape the ability of APCs to prime plasmodium-specific T cell responses. To this end, we will employ established ex vivo co-culture systems, using primary human monocytes and dendritic cells and P.f.-specific CD4 T cell lines, as well as naïve CD4 T cells. We will closely collaborate with the group of Florian Kurth to generate lines from various patients with different disease history of Malaria. Key findings will then be transferred to an established mouse model of P. berghei malaria in the lab of Ian Cockburn at JCSMR in Canberra.


The project will touch on several aspects of malaria research, including basic human immunology, clinical experimental research and translational mouse models of malaria and vaccination.


We are looking for a motivated candidate, ideally with a strong interest and previous experience in immunology, to join our team at Charité Berlin.