Associate Professor Bruce Russell is part of a research collaboration that has made a breakthrough in malaria research, leading to an international workshop and conference being held in Dunedin.
The conference, fully funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was attended by a diverse group of internationally-reknowned malaria specialists from industry, government and academia.
Associate Professor Russell's research group is focusing on the relapsing form of malaria, caused by the pathogenic parasite Plasmodium vivax. Vivax malaria is the most widely distributed and difficult to diagnose form of human malaria. While efforts to develop new drugs and vaccines have been stymied by the lack of an in vitro culture method, the group has developed a way to culture Plasmodium cynomolgi, a near identical parasite found in the blood of wild monkeys in South-east Asia.