Host organisation: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK

Project title: Functional human monoclonal antibodies as tools for defining the merozoite targets of protective immunity against P. falciparum malaria

Dr Linda Murungi works on how the human immune system faces up to the challenges of malaria. By understanding the complex warfare between the two, she believes there will be a greater likelihood of achieving the elusive goal of an effective vaccine to protect people from this deadly disease. It is on this area of research that she received her PhD from the Open University (UK). It fits with her broader interests in the discovery and development of vaccines against pathogens that are responsible for diseases that disproportionately affect people living in developing countries.

AREF Fellowship research project:

During her placement at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine with Dr Britta Urban (Reader in Biomedical Science), Dr Murungi gained hands-on experience in single-cell sorting, RT-PCR, expression cloning, production, purification and quantification of human monoclonal antibodies. She also tapped into her expertise in analysis and interpretation of antibody sequence data using modern bioinformatics tools.

After the placement, Dr Murungi received support to consolidate the pilot data generated from AREF funding and refine her research question in order to competitively apply for research funding to support her career development.