MVRU visit

November 1, 2018

By Zoe Liu

For every PhD student who studies population health, we dream of travelling to countries where our disease of interest is endemic, and I am no exception. I have been looking at naturally acquired antibody kinetics following a symptomatic Plasmodium vivax infection at WEHI in Melbourne for two years, and the human plasma samples I have been using are from Thailand. We are hoping that studying these humoral response profiles will allow us to learn more about the development of immune responses naturally induced by malaria parasites. Additionally, having spent almost three decades in malaria-eradicated countries, I had only learned what is like to live with the disease from textbook pictures and seminars given by researchers with fieldwork experiences. I had always felt like something was missing, until my supervisor Dr Rhea Longley mentioned to me about a travel scholarship opportunity.

I was very fortunate to receive the Travel and Training Award from ACREME to spend two weeks in Thailand. For the first week I visited the Mahidol Vivax Research Unit at Mahidol University in Bangkok to measure antibody kinetics following asymptomatic P. vivax infections by accessing their archival plasma samples and Luminex platform. Dr Jetsumon Sattabongkot and her team were most helpful and friendly during my stay. They made sure I was well supplied and went the extra mile to show me their insectary room and explained how mosquitoes were grown and bred in detail.

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