Global Excellence Research Symposium I - Program – University of Copenhagen

Global Excellence Research Symposium I - Program

PfEMP1: From var genes to malaria vaccines

Celebrating the 25 Year Anniversary of Centre for Medical Parasitology

The Mærsk Tower at University of Copenhagen

Wednesday 27 June


Registration [in front of Nielsine Nielsen Auditorium]


Welcome [Lars Hviid]


Session 1 - The var genes [chair: Thomas Lavstsen]

  • Thomas Otto (University of Glasgow, UK): Evolution and diversity of var genes (25+5 min)
  • Catherine Merrick (University of Cambridge, UK): RecQ helicases and quadruplex structures in var gene evolution and expression (25+5 min)


Coffee break


Session 2 - Pathogenesis [chair: Anja TR Jensen]

  • Joe Smith (Center for Infectious Disease Research, Seattle): 3D brain microvessel models for the study of cerebral malaria pathogenesis (25+5 min)
  • Sam Wassmer (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine): Sequestration, blood-brain barrier impairment and brain swelling in cerebral malaria (25+5 min)
  • Elizabeth Aitken (University of Melbourne): Antibody to PfEMP1 and severe malaria in children in Papua New Guinea (10+5 min)
  • Anja TR Jensen (CMP): PfEMP1 and severe malaria in African children – a journey in time (15+5 min)


Reception [Mærsk Tower, Conference area, 15. floor]

Thursday 28 June


Session 3 - Intracellular transport of PfEMP1 [Chair: Yvonne Adams]

  • Matt Dixon (University of Melbourne): Nano-scale imaging reveals host cell remodelling and knob assembly mechanisms (25 min+5 min)
  • Marek Cyrklaff (University of Heidelberg):  Actin-dependent PfEMP1 transport and sickle-cell protection (25 min+5 min)


Coffee break [in front of Nielsine Nielsen Auditorium]


Session 4 - PfEMP1 proteins: interactions with cognate receptors [chair: Thor Theander]

  • Matt Higgins (University of Oxford): Understanding PfEMP1 function and diversity using structural biology (25 min+5 min)
  • J Alexandra Rowe (University of Edinburgh): Using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing to study PfEMP1 function (25 min+5 min)




Session 5 - Molecules at the infected erythrocyte surface [chair: Christian Wang] 

  • Ioannis Vakonakis (University of Oxford): Dissecting cytoadherence complexes: do all roads lead to knobs? (25 min+5 min)
  • Mats Wahlgren (Karolinska Institute, Stockholm):  Targets of Sevuparin during adjunct treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria (25 min+5 min)
  • Abdirahman Abdi (KEMRI, Kilifi, Kenya): EPCR is not the major receptor for P. falciparum clinical isolates selected to bind human brain endothelial cells (HBEC-5i) (25 min+5 min)
  • Andrew Oleinikov (Florida Atlantic University): Complete library of PfEMP1 domains: screening for receptors, anti-adhesion drugs, vaccine targets (10 min+5 min)


Coffee break [in front of Nielsine Nielsen Auditorium]


Session 6 - Infection and immunity I [chair: Jens V Petersen]

  • Michelle Gatton (Queensland University of Technology): Influence of PfEMP1 on immunity: insights from a mathematical model (25 min+5 min)
  • Mark Travassos (University of Maryland): Using microarrays to identify variant surface antigens critical to natural malaria immunity (25 min+5 min)
  • Britta Urban (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine): Cross-reactive antibodies against CIDRα1 (10 min+5 min)
  • Lars Hviid (CMP, University of Copenhagen): Chronic Plasmodium falciparum infections and placental malaria (10 min+5 min)


Dinner [Restaurant Brus]

Friday 29 June


Session 7 - Infection and immunity II [chair: Lea Barfod]

  • Silvia Portugal (University of Heidelberg): Malaria immunity, seasonal transmission, and PfEMP1 responses (25 min+5 min)
  • Michaela Petter (University Hospital Erlangen, Germany): Expression analyses of virulence-associated genes in experimental human malaria infections (25 min+5 min)
  • Rachida Tahar (IRD): Antibody response of children to PfEMP-1 DC13 recombinant protein (10 min+5 min)


Coffee break


Session 8 - Vaccination and General discussion [chair: Lars Hviid]

  • Benoit Gamain (INSERM, Paris): Towards the development of a VAR2CSA-based vaccine: From antigen down-selection to Phase I clinical trial (25 min+5 min)
  • Morten Nielsen (CMP; University of Copenhagen): Is a second generation placental malaria vaccine needed before initiating efficacy trials? (15 min+5 min)
  • Thomas Lavstsen (CMP; University of Copenhagen): Towards PfEMP1-based interventions against malaria (15 min+5 min)