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Malaria Biotechnology

Malaria is responsible for the deaths of about 445,000 people each year (WHO Report 2017), with increasing tendency. With about 216 million cases per year, the victims are mostly children under the age of five years. Drug-resistances against all commercially available antimalarial drugs have been reported for Plasmodium falciparum parasites. The only vaccine on the market has an efficacy of only 20‑30%. Thus, there is an urgent need to identify new drug targets and novel antimalarial drugs to defeat the disease.

Our main research topics focus on metabolic regulations involving the pyridoxal phosphate synthase 1 (PfPdx1), an enzyme jointly responsible for the parasite vitamin B6 synthesis with PfPdx2, the identification of essential protein transporters and cell division of the malaria parasite. Our PC1 and PC2 laboratories are located in the Ulrich-Schalk-Str. 3 and are equipped with devices allowing a variety of gentechnological, protein biochemical and cell biological techniques. We currently focus on the identification of protein-protein interactions, enzymatic assays with recombinantly produced proteins and in vivo microscopy with living cells or fixed malaria parasites. All our investigations aim at a better understanding of molecular mechanisms that are vital for parasite survival.