Professor Christina Mitchell and Dr Paul Gilson
Burnet scientists have been awarded the major prize at Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct (AMREP) Health Week for their research into a protein essential to the growth of malaria parasites.
The basic science AMREP Research Prize was accepted by Dr Paul Gilson for the paper PTEX is an essential nexus for protein export in malaria parasites, which was originally published in the journal Nature.
The research identified the PTEX protein as essential to blood-stage growth in the parasite Plasmodium falciparum and therefore a prime drug target.
In accepting the award from Professor Christina Mitchell, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Dr Gilson reaffirmed the significance of the research in the broader context of the fight against malaria.
“Malaria is still a very important disease, half the world’s population is at risk, particularly in Africa,” Dr Gilson said.
“Since 2000 the number of cases has declined by 30 percent and the number of deaths by 50 percent and this is due mainly to the use of insecticide-treated bednets and indoor spraying.
“There are plenty of drugs used to treat malaria … but the concern is that parasites are starting to become resistant to those drugs, and this is why we need to identify new drug treatments when current treatments fail.”
Alfred Health Week runs from Monday 19 to Friday 23 October and includes poster displays showcasing research from across AMREP.