Tharkeshi Thanuja Dharmaratne

Development of statistical methods for calibration and quantification of the dynamics of antibody response to malaria

Tharkeshi Dharmaratne

Principal Supervisor’s name: Prof Julie A. Simpson
Co-supervisors’ names: A/Prof Freya Fowkes, Dr Sophie Zaloumis, Dr Saber Dini, Dr David Price

Malaria remains to be a major public health threat with pregnant women and young children the most vulnerable populations.  Immunity to malaria can significantly reduce the severity of malaria symptoms, however, antibody responses vary greatly within- and between-individuals residing in malaria endemic regions. This PhD project seeks to develop statistical approaches to characterise the highly dynamic profiles of the antibody responses, and in turn, identify the key features that best classifies these antibody trajectories. For this purpose, longitudinal antibody data from two studies will be analysed: (i) pregnant women from the Thai-Myanmar border and (ii) participants from four countries in South East Asia enrolled in a cluster randomized controlled trial of mass drug administration. Optimal sampling times for quantifying the decline in antibody levels, will also be determined for future studies assessing population level interventions.

PhD scholarship title and funding body:  Melbourne Research Scholarship [The University of Melbourne]