Study of P. malariae infection dynamics in a new model of humanized mice

Main PI for the project:

Dr. Sylvie Garcia
Institut Pasteur, France

Co-PIs for the project:

Prof. Ayola A. Adegnika
Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné, Gabon

Prof. Steffen Borrmann
Institute for Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, Germany

KEYWORDS: Human Plasmodium malariae, humanized mice


We are looking for a PhD candidate to investigate the biology of the neglected human malaria parasite Plasmodium malariae using unique experimental approaches. The research will take place as a collaborative project at the Institut Pasteur, Paris and CERMEL, Lambaréné. P. malariae is present on the three continents. The recent increase in its prevalence in both Sub-Saharan Africa and South America triggered renewed interest within the context of malaria eradication programmes, which are currently targeting only P. falciparum and P. vivax. The biology, epidemiology and immune evasion strategies of P. malariae remain under-characterized, also due to the lack of specific tools available for its study, which dampens the devising of new therapeutic strategies.

In this project, we propose to use a new humanized mice model, able to support long-term human erythropoiesis as well as human Plasmodium infection. Using this model, we will ask: 1) What are the organs targeted by the infection and by which stages of the parasites? 2) What are the developmental erythrocytic stages infected by the parasite? 3) Are the humanized mice able to transmit parasite gametocytes to Anopheles upon mice biting? For this, we will use combining state-of-the-art single cell flowcytometric and flow imaging (including a new Flow-FISH technique we have devised (C. Luiza-Batista, accepted) and molecular approaches.

This project should help at better understanding key factors of P. malariae biology. This project will benefit from the complementary expertise of Prof. Ayola Akim ADEGNIKA (immuno-parasitology), Prof. Steffen BORRMANN (clinical parasitology) and Dr Sylvie GARCIA (immuno-hematology/humanized mice).

Requirements :

The candidate:

  • should have an M.Sc. in biological sciences with a GPA grade of at least 3 out of 4.
  • should be able to converse in English and have the certificate of Level C1 or C2.
  • should be able to demonstrate a strong interest in the field of infectious diseases, especially in parasitology

The PhD project is part of the DAAD funded project CAIDERA. The candidate would be enrolled in Tübingen, Germany, for a period of three to four years. The PhD is funded by a stipend of the DAAD with additional funding for health insurance and a research related travel allowance.

Severely disabled persons will be given preferential consideration in case of equal suitability. The University of Tübingen aims to increase the proportion of women in research and teaching and therefore invites applications from suitably qualified female academics. For further information, please contact
Dr. Sylvie Garcia: sylvie.garcia[AT]