Malaria is a major cause of death in the Asia-Pacific, infecting around 250 million people each year.

The Menzies malaria research program spans a broad range of research activities aimed at both prevention and treatment, from epidemiology, diagnosis, pathophysiology, immunology, molecular parasitology, clinical trials, and evaluation of the impact and cost-effectiveness of public health interventions.

We work on all five species of the Plasmodium parasite that cause human malaria, with a particular focus on the three that cause most disease and death in the Asia-Pacific region: P. falciparum, P. vivax and P. knowlesi.

Our research focus:
  • To better understand Plasmodium parasites, in particular how they become resistant to drugs, how they cause severe disease and death and how our immune system protects against them. With this knowledge, we can identify better ways to prevent and treat malaria in different environments, facilitating policy change and monitoring the impact of such change on the health of communities.
Our research impact:
  • Showed that artemisinin combination therapies (ACT) have high efficacy against all species of malaria in Indonesia and Malaysia. A unified strategy of ACT for all uncomplicated malaria in Papua has led to a significant reduction in falciparum malaria, halving the risk of perinatal mortality. Clinical studies are on going to investigate better ways of using ACT in pregnancy and early life.
  • Pioneered a novel laboratory test to assess new drugs against P. falciparum and P. vivax and are working with other drug discovery teams to prioritise the development of key antimalarial agents for the future.
  • Observed that levels of a key protective molecule, nitric oxide, are reduced in severe falciparum malaria and that function of the very small blood vessels and the endothelial cells which line them are markedly impaired in severe falciparum malaria. This finding has helped to pioneer new adjunctive therapies to increase nitric oxide and therefore blood supply to vital organs in severe cases and these are now being trialled with partners in Asia.
  • Showed P. vivax to be a major cause of severe and fatal malaria in Papua, Indonesia, primarily due to its ability to cause recurrent infections and severe anaemia. Menzies is now leading multicentred clinical trials in seven countries across the Asia-Pacific region to optimise the safe and effective use of primaquine regimens to prevent P. vivax relapse.
  • Demonstrated that inflammatory responses to malaria parasites cause lung injury. While some responses to P. vivax are greater than those seen with P. falciparum, impairment of other cellular immune functions is found in all species.
  • Revealed that P. knowlesi malaria incidence has increased in Sabah as the other species have been brought under control, threatening malaria elimination in areas where P. knowlesi occurs. This result was achieved through the analysis of 20 years of malaria notification data and ongoing prospective studies in collaboration with the Malaysian Ministry of Health.
  • Determined that P. knowlesi malaria is three times more likely to cause severe disease than P. falciparum, but that deaths from knowlesi malaria can be avoided by early hospital referral and artesunate.
Key staff:
Students:
  • Zuly Pava
  • Damian Oyong
  • Rob Commons
  • Dan Cooper
Collaborators:

Australian:

  • Australian Army Malaria Institute
  • Griffith University
  • Queensland Institute of Medical Research
  • School of Population Health, The University of Queensland.

Region:

  • District Health Authority, Papua, Indonesia
  • Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Indonesia
  • Papuan Health and Community Development Foundation, Timika, Indonesia
  • University Gadjah Mada, Indonesia
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Ministry of Health, Malaysia
  • University of Otago, NZ
  • Herbert Kairuki Memorial University, Tanzania
  • Mahidol-Oxford Research Unit, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Centre of Tropical Medicine, Oxford University, UK
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK
  • Duke University, USA
  • University of Utah, USA.

 

  1. Yeo, T.W., Lampah, D.A., Kenangalem, E., Tjitra, E., Weinberg, J.B., Granger, D.L., Price, R.N., & Anstey, N.M. (2014). Decreased Endothelial Nitric Oxide Bioavailability, Impaired Microvascular Function, and Increased Tissue Oxygen Consumption in Children with Falciparum Malaria. Journal of Infectious Diseases. In press.
  2. Poespoprodjo, J.R., Fobia, W., Kenangalem, E., Lampah, D.A., Sugiarto, P., Tjitra, E., Anstey, N.M., & Price, R.N. (2014). Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine treatment of multidrug resistant falciparum and vivax malaria in pregnancy. PLoS One, 9(1), e84976.
  3. Douglas, N.M., Lampah, D.A., Kenangalem, E., Simpson, J.A., Poespoprodjo, J.R., Sugiarto, P., Anstey, N.M., & Price, R.N. (2013). Major burden of severe anemia from non-falciparum malaria species in southern Papua: A hospital-based surveillance study. PLoS Medicine, 10(12), e1001575.
  4. William, T., Rahman, H.A., Jelip, J., Ibrahim, M.Y., Menon, J., Grigg, M., Yeo, T.W., Anstey, N.M., & Barber, B.E. (2013). Increasing incidence of Plasmodium knowlesi malaria following control of P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria in Sabah, Malaysia. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 7(1), e2026.
  5. Yeo, T.W., Lampah, D.A., Kenangalem, E., Tjitra, E., Price, R.N., & Anstey, N.M. (2013). Impaired skeletal muscle microvascular function and increased skeletal muscle oxygen consumption in severe falciparum malaria. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 207(3), 528-536.
  6. Douglas NM, Simpson JA, Phyo AP, Siswantoro H, Hasugian AR, Kenangalem E, Poespoprodjo JR, Singhasivanon P, Anstey NM, White NJ, Tjitra E, Nosten F, Price RN. (2103) Gametocyte dynamics and the role of drugs in reducing the transmission potential of Plasmodium vivax. Journal of Infectious Diseases,1;208(5),801-12.
  7. Pinzon-Charry, A., Woodberry, T., Kienzle, V., McPhun, V., Minigo, G., Lampah, D.A., Kenangalem, E., Engwerda, C.R., López, J.A., Anstey, N.M., & Good, M.F. (2013). Apoptosis and dysfunction of blood dendritic cells in patients with falciparum and vivax malaria. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 210, 1635-46.
  8. Barber, B.E., William, T., Grigg, M.J., Menon, J., Auburn, S., Marfurt, J., Anstey, N.M., & Yeo, T.W. (2013). A prospective comparative study of knowlesi, falciparum, and vivax malaria in Sabah, Malaysia: High proportion with severe disease from Plasmodium knowlesi and Plasmodium vivax but no mortality with early referral and artesunate therapy. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 56(3), 383-397.
  9. Woodberry, T., Minigo, G., Piera, K.A., Amante, F.H., Pinzon-Charry, A., Good, M.F., Lopez, J.A., Engwerda, C.R., McCarthy, J.S., & Anstey, N.M. (2012). Low-level plasmodium falciparum blood-stage infection causes dendritic cell apoptosis and dysfunction in healthy volunteers. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 206(3), 333-340.
  10.  Marfurt, J., Chalfein, F., Prayoga, P., Wabiser, F., Wirjanata, G., Sebayang, B., Piera, K.A., Wittlin, S., Haynes, R.K., Möhrle, J.J., Anstey, N.M., Kenangalem, E., & Price, R.N. (2012). Comparative ex vivo activity of novel endoperoxides in multidrug-resistant plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 56(10), 5258-63. 
Click here to view more malaria publications in PubMed.
  1. 7th International Conference on Plasmodium vivax Research | Final Report

    7th International Conference on Plasmodium vivax Research | Final Report

    Date

    MESA Correspondents bring you cutting-edge coverage from the 7th International Conference on Plasmodium vivax Research (ICPVR 2019).

  2. Coverage from the 7th International Conference on Plasmodium vivax Research

    Coverage from the 7th International Conference on Plasmodium vivax Research

    Date

    Wrapping up the 7th International Conference on Plasmodium vivax Research, day three focused on the topics of P. vivax drugs and approaches for P. vivax elimination.

  3. CDU, Menzies researcher leads battle against malaria

    CDU, Menzies researcher leads battle against malaria

    Date

    National Tribune Online news | Graduating this week with a PhD, rising star malaria researcher Dr Steven Kho.

  4. MediaNewsroomCDU, Menzies researcher leads battle against malaria CDU, Menzies researcher leads battle against malaria

    MediaNewsroomCDU, Menzies researcher leads battle against malaria CDU, Menzies researcher leads battle against malaria

    Date

    Blood platelets, neutrophils and the spleen have novel roles in people with malaria, according to new research from Charles Darwin University (CDU) and Menzies School of Health Research.

  5. 50 Top Biomedical And Health Scientists Join Prestigious Academy Of Medical Sciences Fellowship

    50 Top Biomedical And Health Scientists Join Prestigious Academy Of Medical Sciences Fellowship

    Date

    Prof Ric Price recognised by The Academy of Medical Sciences as one of 50 of the UK’s leading figures elected to their esteemed Fellowship.

  6. 50 top biomedical and health scientists join prestigious Academy of Medical Sciences Fellowship

    50 top biomedical and health scientists join prestigious Academy of Medical Sciences Fellowship

    Date

    Professor Richard Price , Professor of Global Health and Senior Principal Research Fellow, Menzies School of Health Research, and Professor of Tropical Medicine, University of Oxford

  7. Asia–Pacific research partnerships set to tackle big challenges

    Asia–Pacific research partnerships set to tackle big challenges

    Date

    The largest grant, of $257,767, goes to the Menzies School of Health Research for a project with collaborators in Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Netherlands.

  8. SMH | Commonwealth regional research grants key to 'science diplomacy'

    SMH | Commonwealth regional research grants key to 'science diplomacy'

    Date

    Among the other projects funded are the Menzies School of Health Research partnering with Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal to develop malaria treatments.

  9. Funding spotlight on eliminating malaria in Vietnam

    Funding spotlight on eliminating malaria in Vietnam

    Date

  10. Health Issues India | Could a malaria treatment be found in human blood?

    Health Issues India | Could a malaria treatment be found in human blood?

    Date

    Could a new defence against malaria be found in human blood? Research suggests that human platelets — a component of the blood — form a first-line defence against the malaria parasite.

  11. ScienceNews | A newly approved drug could be a boon for treating malaria

    ScienceNews | A newly approved drug could be a boon for treating malaria

    Date

    The first new treatment in 60 years for a particularly stubborn kind of malaria is raising hopes that it might help eradicate the disease.

  12. PNG-Aust researchers to combine under new grant program

    PNG-Aust researchers to combine under new grant program

    Date

    Australian and Papua New Guinean research groups will work in partnership to address malaria, tuberculosis and other health security threats, under a new grants program funded by the Australian government.

  13. Research reveals defence against malaria parasites

    Research reveals defence against malaria parasites

    Date

    The study, which has just been published in the prestigious journal Blood, was led by Associate Professor Brendan McMorran at ANU and Professor Nick Anstey at Darwin's Menzies School of Health Research

  14. Xinhuanet.com|Platelets kill up to 60 pct of malaria parasites: Australian study

    Xinhuanet.com|Platelets kill up to 60 pct of malaria parasites: Australian study

    Date

    The study, published by the Menzies School of Health Research (MSHR) in Australia's Northern Territory (NT), revealed that platelets attack and kill malaria parasites in the bloodstream.

  15. Platelets the first line of defence in malaria patients

    Platelets the first line of defence in malaria patients

    Date

    The humble platelet is usually regarded as just a tiny cell that helps the blood clot. A study just published in the prestigious journal Blood has found that platelets attack and kill malaria parasites in infected humans to reduce the number of parasites circulating in their blood.

  16. Improving P. vivax malaria treatment

    Improving P. vivax malaria treatment

    Date

    A study, led by a team at Menzies School of Health Research in Australia, has assembled individual patient data from clinical trials conducted since 2000, investigating the effect of chloroquine dosing, combined with the partner drug primaquine, and the risk of recurrent malaria across different settings.

  17. NT News | Malaria breakthrough for NT

    NT News | Malaria breakthrough for NT

    Date

    NT News page 7 - 21 July 2018 | Report on The Lancet Infectious Diseases P.vivax paper.

  18. Xinhua News | "Radical cure" best treatment for common malaria: study

    Xinhua News | "Radical cure" best treatment for common malaria: study

    Date

    (Xinhua) -- Researchers have discovered that a "radical cure" is the best treatment for a type of malaria affecting 13 million people.

  19. New evidence supports radical treatment of  widespread form of malaria

    New evidence supports radical treatment of widespread form of malaria

    Date

    A team of malaria experts from a large international research collaboration has today published results supporting the need for a radical cure strategy to tackle one of the most debilitating forms of malaria caused by the Plasmodium vivax parasite.

  20. Australian support for eliminating malaria and health research in the Indo-Pacific

    Australian support for eliminating malaria and health research in the Indo-Pacific

    Date

    Australia is playing a leading role in supporting malaria elimination efforts, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. The Government's Stronger Systems for Health Security program is supporting practical, relevant research into fundamental health security challenges.

  21. Tackling Malaysian monkey malaria

    Tackling Malaysian monkey malaria

    Date

    Malaysia’s national malaria eradication program has successfully reduced infections associated with Plasmodium falciparum and vivax malaria. to the point where these species may realistically be eradicated by 2020. Plasmodium knowlesi malaria is now...

  22. Building genomics expertise in the NT

    Building genomics expertise in the NT

    Date

    Menzies is investing and developing expertise in the emerging research area of genome sequencing. In the past year, we took the lead in a number of national and international collaborative programs investigating the genomics of tropical pathogens, and...

  23. IMPROV Newsletter Issue #18 | March 2018

    IMPROV Newsletter Issue #18 | March 2018

    Date

    We would like to thank all the sites and study staff for all their hard work. This has been a huge undertaking over the past few years which will yield important results to optimise vivax malaria treatment regimens.

  24. Malaria victim facing double hand amputation considers legal action against GP

    Malaria victim facing double hand amputation considers legal action against GP

    Date

    Malaria expert Professor Ric Price, from the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, said advising travellers about the prevention of malaria was not straightforward.

  25. DFAT: Foreign policy in action - malaria research

    DFAT: Foreign policy in action - malaria research

    Date

    Matthew Grigg is a senior research fellow at the Menzies School of Health Research and spent several years researching mosquitoes and malaria while living in a small town called Kudat in Sabah, Malaysia.

  26. Award no tall order for Matthew - Darwin Sun

    Award no tall order for Matthew - Darwin Sun

    Date

    A DARWIN scientist has been named the Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year in recognition of his research into a type of monkey malaria transmitted to humans via mosquitoes.

  27. Monkey malaria researcher presented with NT Young Tall Poppy award

    Monkey malaria researcher presented with NT Young Tall Poppy award

    Date

    Dr Matthew Grigg's research into monkey malaria has already changed WHO treatment guidelines and saved lives across Southeast Asia, writes Sarah Condie - Cosmos Magazine

  28. PhD: malaria paralyses immune cells

    PhD: malaria paralyses immune cells

    Date

    THE quest to develop a better malaria vaccine is a complicated business, but that hasn't deterred Dr Jessica Loughland, of the Menzies School of Health Research, who received a PhD yesterday from Charles Darwin University

  29. Katherine Times | Dr Grigg wins science award

    Katherine Times | Dr Grigg wins science award

    Date

    Menzies School of Health Research clinical research fellow Dr Matthew Grigg has been named the 2017 NT Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year.

  30. NT News | Brains Trust Born

    Date

    Researchers at Darwin's Menzies School of Health Research will play a key role in a new push to fight the scourge of malaria in the Asia-Pacific region.

  31. Monkey malaria researcher named NT Young Tall Poppy

    Date

    Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) clinical research fellow Dr Matthew Grigg has been named the 2017 NT Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year in recognition for ongoing research into Plasmodium knowlesi (P. knowlesi) malaria, a type of monkey malaria transmitted to humans via mosquitos in Southeast Asia.

  32. New Australian-led malaria research powerhouse gears up to hunt down malaria across the Asia-Pacific

    Date

    Australia will take a leadership role in the Asia-Pacific region in a new initiative to help our nearest neighbours rid the scourge of malaria, in a new National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre for Research Excellence in Malaria Elimination.

  33. Curious Darwin: Why is there no malaria in Australia's northern capital?

    Curious Darwin: Why is there no malaria in Australia's northern capital?

    Date

    Professor Ric Price is an expert in malaria who works at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin. He said the victory over malaria was a result of prompt and effective diagnosis, actions to control mosquito numbers, and close follow-up of people who returned home from overseas who were sick with malaria.

  34. Malaria parasite spreads from howler monkeys to humans

    Date

    Matthew J Grigg, of the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, Australia and Georges Snounou, of the Sorbonne University in Paris, France, say it is imperative that studies establish whether this is the simium parasite or whether it might be a reservoir of vivax in Brazilian monkeys, which “would pose a substantial threat to malaria elimination throughout the continent and possibly beyond”

  35. Weeding out Malaria

    Date

    A study led by the Menzies School of Health Research recommends a two-stage treatment for the notoriously difficult-to-cure Plasmodium vivax malaria

  36. Study emphasises the need for radical cure of vivax malaria

    Study emphasises the need for radical cure of vivax malaria

    Date

    A study into the treatment of the difficult-to-cure Plasmodium vivax malaria in Ethiopia.

  37. Scientists complete the genome sequences of malaria parasites

    Scientists complete the genome sequences of malaria parasites

    Date

    An international team of scientists has sequenced the genomes of the final two species of malaria parasites. The findings have important implications for malaria eradication worldwide and will help researchers to develop new drugs and a vaccine.

  38. $2m grant to combat drug resistant malaria and tuberculosis

    $2m grant to combat drug resistant malaria and tuberculosis

    Date

    A $2m research grant to work towards the prevention, control and elimination of malaria and tuberculosis (TB) in Southeast Asia and the Pacific has been awarded to a consortium led by Menzies School of Health Research, in collaboration with Burnet Institute, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade announced today.

  39. 2016 NHMRC Research Excellence Awards

    2016 NHMRC Research Excellence Awards

    Date

    Two inspiring health researchers from Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) were awarded prestigious National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Research Excellence Awards last night in Canberra.

  40. TerritoryQ: War on Malaria, Prof Ric Price and Prof Nicholas Anstey

    TerritoryQ: War on Malaria, Prof Ric Price and Prof Nicholas Anstey

    Date

    A medical team based in Darwin has put itself at the centre of the goal to eliminate malaria from the Asia-Pacific

  41. Research discovers a hidden burden of vivax malaria parasites causing severe malaria

    Research discovers a hidden burden of vivax malaria parasites causing severe malaria

    Date

    New research into the malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax has provided insights into why people infected with this malaria species may develop severe disease.

  42. Research reveals extent of drug resistant vivax malaria

    Research reveals extent of drug resistant vivax malaria

    Date

    New research into the extent and nature of drug resistant malaria is hoping to benefit the millions of people worldwide who suffer from the potential deadly disease.

  43. Menzies contributes to key antimalarial recommendations from multinational network

    Menzies contributes to key antimalarial recommendations from multinational network

    Date

    A new study by a global collaborative platform for scientists and clinical researchers hopes to address antimalarial drug resistance which continues to hamper malaria control programs.

  44. ABC AM: New research into fighting malaria

    ABC AM: New research into fighting malaria

    Date

    Scientists say new research into malaria will help provide new ways to combat the deadly disease.

  45. Radio Australia: Hopes that genetic mapping will outwit malaria parasite

    Radio Australia: Hopes that genetic mapping will outwit malaria parasite

    Date

    Scientists say new research into the malaria parasite will provide drugs to combat the ways it's evolving to gain resistance to the current range of anti-malaria medicine.

  46. Aljazeera News: Call for global action to tackle Malaria

    Aljazeera News: Call for global action to tackle Malaria

    Date

    Countries around the world need to do more to fight the spread of malaria, according to a new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

  47. Menzies secures critical funding for malaria and tropical health research

    Menzies secures critical funding for malaria and tropical health research

    Date

    The millions of people worldwide who suffer from malaria and other tropical infections each year will benefit from the awarding of a federal fellowship to one of the country's leading clinical researchers in tropical health.

  48. Highest award for ground-breaking research into severe malaria

    Highest award for ground-breaking research into severe malaria

    Date