The Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology (LMIV) was commissioned in 2009 to conduct basic and applied research relevant to malaria immunology and vaccine development, to pursue novel vaccine concepts, to produce prototype malaria vaccines, and to conduct early-phase clinical trials of promising vaccine candidates. Our overarching goal is to develop malaria vaccines that will reduce severe disease and death among African children and pregnant women and will eliminate malaria from low-transmission areas of the world.
LMIV has an organizational structure that encompasses both basic discovery and product development within a small, integrated team. Discovery sections within LMIV conduct basic research on malaria pathogenesis and immunology, with an emphasis on studies in humans who are naturally or experimentally infected with malaria parasites. In parallel, the Vaccine Development Unit—which was launched in 2001 as the Malaria Vaccine Development Unit and then became the Malaria Vaccine Development Branch before taking its current shape—operates more like a small biotech firm than a typical research laboratory. Specialists in each step of the development process, from antigen selection to clinical trials, contribute their expertise as the candidate moves along the development pathway. This allows multiple vaccine candidates to move from concept to clinical trials efficiently and rapidly. Together, the discovery sections and Production Unit form a research and testing enterprise that can rapidly translate ideas into proof of concept trials and then capture basic information about human immunity and responses to infection during human clinical trials.
Read the National Geographic article, Bedlam in the Blood: Malaria.
Major Areas of Research
- Enhance our basic understanding of malaria pathogenesis and immunity in humans
- Develop strategies for anti-infection, anti-disease, and transmission-blocking vaccines
- Produce and formulate antigens suitable for human testing
- Develop assays and perform animal trials that define the potential for protection
- Conduct clinical trials to test vaccines in the United States and in malaria endemic areas
- Establish scientific collaborations and obtain outside funding to accelerate the program