Professor Melissa Kapulu
Malaria transmission and human infection studies
The efficacy of vaccine developed in naïve population (UK or US) often drops dramatically when used in endemic populations, where individuals are exposed to the vaccine disease target. The Human Malaria Infection Model looks at naturally acquired immunity and correlates of protection. Furthermore, scientists in affected areas build capacity and knowledge base, and integration of scientific thought and processes.
Malaria Transmission & Human Infection Studies
Melissa Kapulu is a Principal Research Investigator based at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi Kenya. She received her training in immunology at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (MSc in Immunology of Infectious Diseases) and and vaccinology at the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford (DPhil on malaria transmission-blocking vaccines).
She runs a research group and programme of work that includes better understanding of naturally acquired immunity for the design, development, and testing of vaccines (pre-clinical and clinical). This involves understanding mechanisms of immunity following both infection (natural and deliberate/induced infections) and vaccination. She works to developing and/or establishing controlled human infection models, to identify, characterise, understand, and evaluate vaccines, in disease endemic populations.
Primary area of interest includes malaria and Shigella. She is committed to and has successfully trained and supervised young scientists at BSc, MSc, and PhD level.
Anti-merozoite antibodies induce natural killer cell effector function and are associated with immunity against malaria.
Odera DO. et al, (2023), Sci Transl Med, 15
Controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) outcomes in Kenyan adults is associated with prior history of malaria exposure and anti-schizont antibody response
Kapulu MC. et al, (2022), BMC Infectious Diseases, 22
Controlled Human Malaria Infection reveals that the Dantu blood group variant provides high level protection against uncomplicated malaria
Kariuki SN. et al, (2022)
Phagocytosis of Plasmodium falciparum ring-stage parasites predicts protection against malaria.
Musasia FK. et al, (2022), Nat Commun, 13
Ethical considerations around volunteer payments in a malaria human infection study in Kenya: an embedded empirical ethics study.
Chi PC. et al, (2022), BMC medical ethics, 23