The University of Edinburgh

Dr. David Cavanagh

The University of Edinburgh is one of the largest and most successful universities in the UK with an international reputation as a centre of academic excellence and medical research. The University is the largest university and leading research university in Scotland. A participant and co-author in other FP5 and FP6 projects, Dr. David Cavanagh will lead the Edinburgh arm of this project. The University has extensive experience of EU Framework Programmes and have collaborated in some 220 projects, with an award value of over €40m and is therefore used to the reporting procedures and the information sharing required.

The main expertise of the Edinburgh group lies in malaria parasite immunobiology and genetics, combined with malaria studies in Africa aimed at supporting a vaccine development effort. Dr. Cavanagh has over 12 years experience in malaria vaccine research and is an inventor on a submitted patent concerning malaria vaccines based on merozoite proteins. The group also has been involved in the existing comparative immunogenicity testing of several candidate malaria vaccine antigens, as part of a completed FP5 project (Euromalvac2) and is one of two IP partners continuing the comparative testing work as part of the FP6 funded integrated project, the European Malaria vaccine Development Association (EMVDA). The University of Edinburgh also has a strong record in Ph.D training of young African malaria researchers.

Workpackages #: 1 (IFA), and 4 (Repository) Main Tasks: Serology, parasitological evaluation assays, training. Specialised assays of immune response and biological efficacy (IFA) will be carried out at the University of Edinburgh, continuing a successful collaboration with BPRC to establish joint European centres, at which critical comparative assays can be undertaken under masked, unbiased evaluation protocols. The assays involve the use of malaria parasites in synchronised cultures for invasion blocking, and in vitro growth inhibition. Microscopic immunofluorescence assays will also be used to assess antibody titre following immunisations, plus qualitative and quantitative assessments of antibody recognition of antigenically diverse isolates of P. falciparum. The parasite collection of the late Prof. David Walliker, containing over 150 different malaria parasite clones, including the source of the 3D7 parasite used in the P. falciparum genome sequencing project, is a valuable resource from which standard strains can be developed and characterised.