Young malaria research star recognised in Premier's Awards

Burnet Institute

04 June, 2013

Dr Michelle Boyle (second from left) with the other Premier's Award winners, Victorian Governor, the Hon. Alex Chernov and Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business, the Hon. Louise Asher.

Exceptional young malaria researcher Dr Michelle Boyle is one of three Victorian scientists presented with a prestigious Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research Commendee Award.

Dr Boyle completed her PhD at the Burnet Institute in the Beeson Laboratory and was recognised for her research into Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes the majority of malaria sickness and death worldwide.

“All malaria disease results during blood stage infection where the merozoite form of the parasite infects and replicates inside red blood cells. My PhD project developed a new method to isolate the merozoite so that they can be used to study the infection of red blood cells directly for the first time,” Dr Boyle explained.

“I applied this new method to study parasite biology and inhibitors of infection which have the potential for therapeutic development. I also used this method to study important vaccine candidates and gained key understanding on how the immune system blocks the parasite infecting the red blood cell.”

It is hoped that this work will inform the development of new vaccines and therapeutics targeting malaria.

“Receiving this award is a great acknowledgement of the hard work and success of both myself and the entire scientific team at Burnet which focuses on investigating new ways to control malaria disease,” Dr Boyle said.

“It will assist with my future research training at the University of California, San Francisco where I am currently investigating the development of immunity to malaria in children.”

Dr Boyle would like to thank both the Victoria Government and the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) for funding the awards and for continuing to encourage and support early career researchers.


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