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Framework programme: 6
Call: 1
Project number:
EC contribution: € 15,900,000
Duration: 60 months
Type: NoE
Starting date: 1 April 2004
Graphic element Biology and Pathology of the Malaria Parasite
Keywords: Malaria; basic research; Plasmodium; Anopheles; integration; dissemination


Malaria is a parasitic disease causing a major public health problem in more than 90 countries inhabited by some 2 400 million people (40% of the world’s population). Malaria is estimated to cause up to 500 million clinical cases and over 1 million deaths each year, most of them children under five. More people are dying of malaria now than 30 years ago. Factors contributing to the rise of mortality rates are the rapid spread of parasite strains resistant to common drugs, the emergence of insecticide-resistant mosquito vectors and the continued absence of affordable, long-lasting preventive measures, such as a safe and efficacious malaria vaccine. The objective of this project is the creation of an interwoven and rationally structured network that integrates leading malaria research teams across Europe and Africa and provides central management, information and communication structures for strengthening European and African research in the field of malaria. The BioMalPar network aims to promote understanding the fundamental biology of the malaria parasite and its hosts, including mechanisms involved in pathogenesis and transmission of the parasite. The recent successes in characterising genomes of Plasmodium sp. malaria parasites and their hosts provide a unique opportunity for developing novel strategies to control malaria. The size and complexity of this task require a concerted effort that no one laboratory, or even institution, has the resources or expertise to accomplish alone. Since any new intervention that may be developed has eventually to be tested and applied in disease-endemic settings, strong research partnerships with leading groups from these countries are encouraged to be established at the early stages of research.


Leading groups of malaria researchers in major institutions will integrate their scientific expertise and activities to exploit new scientific opportunities provided by the recently available genome information for malaria parasites and their hosts. The joint scientific programme of this NoE will comprise complementary clusters of fundamental studies in biology and pathology that will underpin novel strategies to control malaria:
- development and gene regulation
- functional cell biology and metabolism
- molecular and cellular biology of the pathogenesis of malaria
- immune response and defence mechanisms in the host and the vector.

Joint activities will focu s on developing methodologies or resources that overcome current roadblocks in studies of molecular and cellular processes of malaria biology and pathology, and programmes investigating complementary aspects of central questions identified in each of the four clusters. The network will federate European research institutes of established international reputation in the field of malaria biology and their affiliated research groups in malaria-endemic areas. Through BioMalPar’s programme of jointly executed research, 44 malaria groups will support the network’s goals to strengthen existing excellence, increase institutional integration and create a durable structuring of basic malaria research in Europe.


The major goal of this project is to develop novel strategies to overcome the scientific and technical obstacles which have slowed down progress on our knowledge on the biology of the malaria parasite in the path of developing new, effective malaria intervention strategies (vaccines and drugs). We believe that these therapeutic strategies are most likely to emerge from a creative and rigorous basic research in host malaria parasite interaction. The scientific problems that BioMalPar will address during the lifetime of this network have been grouped into four main themes, each representing a topic in which Europe has proven excellence.

Moreover, the BioMalPar Network will provide international leadership, disseminate expertise and resources, provide training and mobility of scientists at all levels, and foster long-term collaborations that will strengthen European Malaria research. A strong central management structure will be built around the core group of 17 institutions from seven European countries, and will be complemented by partnerships and associations with other EU member state laboratories and African partner groups from malaria-endemic regions (Mali, Sudan and Uganda). It will aim to keep the network open and forceful for new European and African partner groups, as well as other international players as appropriate for the project.

Expected results:

Federating excellence will be the first step to stimulate research capacities in European regions and will increase European competitiveness by new discoveries, increased integration, coordinated exploitation of results and intellectual property rights, and improved tools and services.

Furthermore, training and mobility of graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and staff scientists will be other key components of strengthening long-term European malaria research. The development of ambitious joint scientific activities requires an integrated approach with considerable exchange of personnel. This will increase and disseminate the overall expertise throughout Europe, considerably strengthen the research potential of its associated partners in endemic countries, and should reinforce Europe’s leading position on malaria research.

Potential applications:

Specific research objectives of this NoE aim to decipher the basic mechanisms of pathogenesis and crucial parasite specific pathways. Since molecular research opens up novel avenues in the analysis of hosts and vector, this will undoubtedly induce the emergence of novel technologies and molecules that are novel targets for intervention strategies.

For further information, see


Artur Scherf
Directeur de Recherche au CNRS
Institut Pasteur, Bâtiment Nicolle
Biology of Host-Parasite Interactions Unit
25, rue du Docteur Roux
75724 Paris CEDEX 15
Tel: + 33 1 45 68 86 16
Fax: + 33 1 45 68 83 48

Other participating research teams:
Pierre Druilhe, Dept. of Parasitology
Odile Puijalon, Dept. of Parasitology
Robert Ménard, Dept. of Parasitology
Jürg Gysin, URM IPP, Dept. of Parasitology


Official Address Other Information
2Catherine Braun BretonUniversité de Montpellier 2
Place Eugène Bataillon
FR-34095 Montpellier, Cedex 5, France
UMR 5539
Tel: +33 4 67 14 33 81
Fax: +33 4 67 14 42 86
3Michael J. Blackman
Anthony Holder
Jean Langhorne
Division of Parasitology
National Institute for Medical Research
The Ridgeway, Mill Hill
UK-NW7 1AA London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 208 816 2127
Fax: +44 208 816 2730
4Andrew P. WatersUniversitair Hoofd Docent,
Malaria Group
Department of Parasitology,
Center of Infectious Diseases
Leiden University Medical Centre
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 71 5265069
Fax: +31 71 5266907
5Henk Stunnenberg
Other participating research teams:
Robert Sauerwein, Dept. of Medical Microbiology
Head of Department of Molecular Biology
NCMLS (191)
University of Nijmegen
PO Box 9101, NL-6500 HB Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 24 3610524
Fax: +31 24 3610520
6Alan ThomasHead of Department of Parasitology
PO Box 3306
NL-2280 GH Rijswijk
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 15 2842699
Fax: +31 15 284 3986
Website: entry/147
7David Roberts
Christopher Newbold
Adrian Hill
Nuffield Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences
John Radcliffe Hospital
UK-OX3 9DU Oxford, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1865 44 7971
Fax: +44 1865 44 7957
8Henri Vial
Other participating research teams:
Jules Hoffman, UPR9022, Inst. Biol. Mol. Cell., Université Strasbourg
Elena Levashina, UPR9022, Inst. Biol. Mol. Cell., Université Strasbourg
Dynamique moléculaire des Interactions Membranaires
Université Montpellier II, case 107
Place Eugène Bataillon
FR-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France
Tel: +33 4 67 14 37 45
Fax: +33 4 67 14 42 86
9Michael Lanzer
Other participating research teams:
Kai Matuschewski, Dept. of Parasitology
Department of Parasitology
University of Heidelberg Medical School
Im Neuenheimer Feld 324
DE-69120 Heidelberg
Tel: +49 6221 567845
Fax: +49 6221 564643
10Mats Wahlgren
Other participating research teams:
Qijun Chen, Parasitology, MTC
Parasitology, Microbiology and Tumor Biology Centre (MTC),
Karolinska Institutet
Box 280
SE-171 77 Stockhölm, Sweden
Tel: +46 8 5248 72 77
11Marita Troye-Blomberg
Other participating research teams:
Klavs Berzins, Dept. of Immunology
Department of Immunology
Wenner-Gren Institute
Svante Arrheniusväg 16
Stockholm University
SE-106 91 Stockhölm, Sweden
Tel: +46 8 164164
Fax: +46 8 157356
12Marta Ponzi
Other participating research teams:
Pietro Alano, Laboratorio di Biologia Cellulare
Laboratorio di Biologia Cellulare
Tel: +39 06 4990 2226
Fax: +39 06 4938 7543
13David Modiano
Other participating research teams:
Mario Coluzzi, Dipart. Di Scienze di Sanitá Publicca, Parassitologia
Dipartimento di Scienze di Sanita’ Pubblica
Sezione di Parassitologia
Universita’ ‘La Sapienza’
Piazzale Aldo Moro 5
IT-00185 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 06 4991 4933
Fax: +39 06 4991 4653
14Robert Sinden
Other participating research teams:
Andrea Crisanti, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Oliver Billker, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Dominique Soldati, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Infection and Immunity Section
Department of Biological Sciences
Sir Alexander Fleming Building
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
Imperial College Road
UK-SW7 2AZ London, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 20 7594 5408/5425
Fax: +44 20 7594 5424
15Matthew BerrimanPathogen Sequencing Unit, The Sanger Institute
Wellcome Trust
Genome Campus, Hinxton
Tel: +44 1223 494864
Fax: +44 1223 494783
16Fotis C. KafatosEMBL
Meyerhofstr. 1
DE-69117 Heidelberg
Tel: +49 6221 387200
Fax: +49 6221 387211
17Christos Louis
Other participating research teams:
Thanasis Loukeris, IMBB-FORTH, Inst. f. Mol. Biol. & Biotechnology
IMBB-FORTH & Dept. Biol., U. Crete
Vassilika Vouton
EL-711 10 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Tel: +30 2810 391119
Fax: +30 2810 391104
18Fred KirondeDepartment of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine,
Centre for Research on Infectious Diseases
Upper Mulago Hill Road
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256 77 854590
Fax: +256 41 530941
19Ogobara K. DoumboMalaria Research and Training Centre, DEAP, FMPOS,
Univ. of Bamako
Point G/koulouba,
Bamako, Mali
Tel/Fax: +223 222 81 09 or 2216361,
20Muntaser IbrahimDepartment of Molecular Biology,
Khartoum, Sudan
Tel: +249 11793267
Fax: +249 11793267,

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