Malaria is a major global disease with 214 million cases and an estimated 438,000 deaths in 2015. Most cases of severe malaria are caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Symptoms include respiratory distress, renal failure and cerebral malaria.
Unlike other infections in which one single encounter with the pathogen is enough to generate long lasting protection, immunity to malaria takes up to 10 years to develop for individuals in endemic areas despite constant exposure to the parasite.
Dr Diana Hansen and her team investigate mechanisms of pathogenesis leading to severe malaria as well as the processes that delay the acquisition of immunity.