The studies at the MRC are aimed at obtaining a greater understanding of the epidemiology, population genetics, clinical features and pathophysiology of malaria parasites in this region. One of our major discoveries was of a large focus in Sarawak of human infections with Plasmodium knowlesi, a parasite normally found in long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques. Subsequent reports of human knowlesi malaria in other parts of Malaysia and many countries in Southeast Asia have resulted in P. knowlesi being recognised as the fifth species of Plasmodium causing human malaria. We have recently characterised P. knowlesi malaria clinically and compared parasite diversity in the human and non-human hosts. Current studies are aimed at identifying parasite and host determinants that contribute to the differential susceptibility of humans to P. knowlesi infection. We are also characterising malaria parasites in orangutans and small mammals, and studying the interactions between P. falciparum and traditional medicinal plants used in endemic areas of Malaysian Borneo. 

The MRC comprises senior scientists, postgraduates, and research assistants from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Faculty of Resource Science and Technology, UNIMAS. We are working and have worked in close collaboration with colleagues from within and outside Malaysia. These include scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, St George’s University of London, the University of Western Australia, Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the University of Alberta in Canada, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in the Philippines, Bogor Agricultural University and Syiah Kuala University in Indonesia, the Biomedical Primate Research Centre in the Netherlands, the Environmental Health Institute Singapore, the Sarawak Health Department, the Sabah Health Department, the Pahang Health Department, the Sabah Wildlife Department and the Institute of Medical Research, Malaysia.

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