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.
Engagement of ethics and regulatory authorities on human infection studies: Proceedings of an engagement workshop in Zambia
Kunda-Ng'andu EM. et al, (2021), Wellcome Open Research, 6, 31 - 31
Key criteria for the ethical acceptability of COVID-19 human challenge studies: Report of a WHO Working Group
Jamrozik E. et al, (2021), Vaccine, 39, 633 - 640
Deliberately infecting healthy volunteers with malaria parasites: Perceptions and experiences of participants and other stakeholders in a Kenyan‐based malaria infection study
Jao I. et al, (2020), Bioethics, 34, 819 - 832
Naturally acquired immunity among Kenyan adults suppresses the West African P. falciparum NF54 strain in controlled human malaria infection (CHMI)
Kapulu MC. et al, (2020)
Evaluation of Near Infrared Spectroscopy for Sporozoite Detection in Mosquitoes Infected With Wild-strain Parasites From Asymptomatic Gametocyte Carriers in Kilifi Kenya
Maia MF. et al, (2020)