Mrs Coralie Boulet
Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Microbiology
La Trobe University
Research ActivitiesMalaria is a life-threatening disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Every year, 200 million new infections and close to half a million deaths are due to malaria. Importantly, no effective anti-malaria vaccines are available. Furthermore, vector control strategies, although historically effective, do not fully prevent malaria transmission, and resistance against all available antimalarial drugs threatens to reverse the decrease in malaria morbidity and mortality observed in the recent years. Therefore, new antimalarial drugs and strategies are urgently needed. Plasmodium falciparum is the most virulent human malaria parasite. During its complex life cycle in humans, P. falciparum develops in erythrocytes. Mature erythrocytes lack organelles such as mitochondria and nucleus, but they present a programmed cell death mechanism termed eryptosis. We hypothesize that, in order to survive, P. falciparum needs to interact and interfere with its host eryptosis pathway.
We aim to identify druggable targets of the host erythrocyte, which would offer novel perspectives for host-directed anti-malarial therapy. Host-directed therapy would deprive the parasite from the most direct path to resistance, namely the selection of genotypes encoding a mutated target with reduced susceptibility to the drug.