Sex in malaria parasites - from genome scale functional gene profiling to transmission blocking intervention targets
The aim of this project is to understand the sexual biology of malaria parasites, and how we can exploit it to block malaria transmission by mosquitoes.
Malaria still kills almost half a million people each year, most of them are children under five. The disease is caused by a parasite that grows inside red blood cells and gets transmitted by mosquitoes. New drugs and vaccines that help eradicate malaria by blocking mosquito transmission are urgently required.
Billker Lab will map the functions of about 700 parasite genes in sexual reproduction. It would be impossible to do this one gene at a time. Their new idea is to make a large collection of barcoded mutants to study the functions of hundreds of parasite genes simultaneously.