Dr Melissa Kapulu
Postdoctoral research scientist
I am a research scientist in infectious disease immune-epidemiology with a background in immunology and vaccinology. My key interests are in vector-borne, water-facilitated and water-borne infections of major public health importance focusing on their epidemiology and immunology with the aim of characterising targets for vaccine design and efficacy evaluation. This is alongside building African research capacity and science communication.
I am keen on understanding naturally acquired immunity to especially malaria for vaccine design and evaluation. This underpins my main interests in understanding immunological aspects of malaria transmission with the aim of identifying, developing, and testing the efficacy of vaccine candidate targets.
I am particularly interested also in developing and/or establishing tools and model systems to identify, characterise, understand and evaluate vaccines, particularly the controlled human infection models, in disease endemic populations. I have been able to set up the falciparum malaria human challenge model in Kilifi, Kenya to primarily unravel the course of malaria infections in the context of naturally acquired immunity and thus help identify key immune-protective targets for vaccine development. Using this same platform, I develop a human malaria transmission model that would enable mainly vaccine efficacy evaluation for particularly malaria transmission-blocking interventions. This underpins my research focus on characterising signatures of malaria transmission by looking for molecular and immunological markers that can be developed as tools for detecting and preventing human-to-mosquito malaria transmissibility potential (diagnostics and vaccines).
Other interests are in characterising immune-prevalence for enteric disease, particularly Shigella, with the aim of informing clinical trial evaluation of vaccine targets.
Comparing drug regimens for clearance of malaria parasites in asymptomatic adults using PCR in Kilifi County, Kenya: an open-label randomised controlled clinical trial (MalPaC)
Khaemba EN. et al, (2020), Wellcome Open Research, 5, 36 - 36
Author Correction: The temporal dynamics and infectiousness of subpatent Plasmodium falciparum infections in relation to parasite density
Slater HC. et al, (2019), Nature Communications, 10
Controlled Human Malaria Infection in Semi-Immune Kenyan Adults (CHMI-SIKA): a study protocol to investigate in vivo Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite growth in the context of pre-existing immunity
Kapulu MC. et al, (2019), Wellcome Open Research, 3, 155 - 155
Immune Responses to Gametocyte Antigens in a Malaria Endemic Population—The African falciparum Context: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Muthui MK. et al, (2019), Frontiers in Immunology, 10
Gametocyte carriage in an era of changing malaria epidemiology: A 19-year analysis of a malaria longitudinal cohort
Muthui MK. et al, (2019), Wellcome Open Research, 4, 66 - 66