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Professor Stephen Rogerson

Professor Stephen Rogerson

Professor Stephen Rogerson

(03) 8344 3259 |

Head of the Malaria Laboratory
Malaria, Bacterial and Parasitic Infections
Global Health, Clinical and health systems research
Department of Medicine
Lab Group(s):
Rogerson Group

Professor Stephen Rogerson is a lead of the Global Health cross-cutting discipline at the Doherty Institute. He researches malaria in the Department of Medicine and is also an infectious diseases clinician. His research has taken him to Papua New Guinea, Malawi and the UK. His principal interests are malaria in pregnancy and the pathogenesis and immunity of malaria in young children.  Since 2005, he has been a member of the Gates Foundation-supported Malaria in Pregnancy Consortium, and he advises WHO on malaria in pregnancy. He chairs an interview committee for the Wellcome Trust. From 2016, his laboratory will be supported by an NHMRC program grant. 

  • Key Achievements
    • During his PhD, Stephen discovered that malaria-infected red blood cells can bind to chondroitin sulphate A, now shown to be critical to placental malaria infection. He is the author of approximately 200 publications on malaria in young children and pregnant women, immunity to malaria, how malaria affects placental function and other topics in journals including J Exp Med, The Lancet, Nature and PLoS Medicine, and recently led a large clinical trail of malaria prevention in Papua New Guinea. His work has been supported by the Wellcome Trust, National Institutes of Health, USAID, the Gates Foundation, NHMRC and others.

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    • How malaria parasite protein PfEMP1 interacts with the human immune system

      Stephen’s group have an NHMRC-funded Project Grant to study how the proteins on the surface of malaria-infected red blood cells interact with cells of the immune system. The principal protein, called P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1, or PfEMP1, comes in many variants, a subset of which have been associated with severe malaria in young African children. Stephen’s group are studying the link between PfEMP1 variants and immune response in their Melbourne laboratory and with colleagues in Blantyre, Malawi, where Stephen is co-supervising a local PhD student who is studying parasites and immune responses in children with malaria.

    • Glycoasminoglycans: sugars that alter the immune response to malaria

      Louise Randall has an NHMRC Project Grant to study how complex sugar molecules called glycosaminoglycans (or GAGs), produced in the placenta, shield the malaria parasite from the immune system. Louise and her collaborators at Sunshine Hospital, University of New South Wales and Imperial College London are developing techniques to purify different GAGs from placenta and to determine the placental proteins to which they are attached. Louise is studying how different versions of these sugars alter immune response to malaria parasites and how this affects immune response to malaria in the placenta, and whether high blood levels of GAGs might protect pregnant women from malaria.

    • Understanding and preventing effects of malaria on pregnant women and their babies

      Stephen’s group has a long-standing interest in how malaria affects pregnant women. The parasite accumulates in the placenta and affects both mother and baby. Stephen’s group’s work covers understanding how malaria affects the function of the placenta (such as transfer of nutrients to the baby), how mothers develop protective immunity against placental malaria, and studies of how to protect pregnant women from malaria. They recently completed a big study in Papua New Guinea of malaria prevention in pregnant women and showed that their drug combination could decrease low birth weight babies by a quarter and premature deliveries by a third.  

    Research Groups
    • Rogerson Group

      Stephen’s laboratory studies the pathogenesis and immunology of infection with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in humans. Their laboratory studies are linked to field studies, and they collaborate with leading malaria groups in Africa, Asia and Papua New Guinea. 

      Lab Team

      Rogerson Group

      • Associate Professor; Department of Medicine
      • Senior Research Officer
      • Research Officer
      • Dr Julia Cutts
        Project Manager
      • Wina Hasang
        Research Assistant
      • Agersew Mengist
        PhD Student
      • Amaya Ortega
        PhD Student
      • Anjaleena Anthony
        PhD Student
      • Janavi Rambhatla
        PhD Student
      • Madi Njie
        PhD Student
      • Meseret Kassa
        PhD Student
      • Timon Damelang
        PhD Student
      • David Grimson
        Masters Student
      • Di Zheng
        Masters Student
      • Putri Wara
        Masters Student
      • Selorme Adukpo
        Visiting Scientist
      • Professor Graham Brown
        Emeritus Professor

Full University of Melbourne profile