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Climent Casals-Pascual

Dr, DPhil

Severe malaria (SM) is an important cause of global mortality and morbidity. The most common clinical presentations of SM are cerebral malaria (CM), severe respiratory distress (SRD) and severe malarial anaemia (SMA). The clinical symptoms of severe malaria frequently overlap with those of other severe diseases like pneumonia, meningitis and bacteraemia. In these situations, malaria microscopy is a poor diagnostic tool for clinical management and empirical antibiotic treatment is recommended. Therefore, the lack of accurate clinical case definitions for severe malaria limits our ability to diagnose and manage adequately these cases. From a public health perspective, it limits our ability to have real estimates of the malaria burden and to monitor the efficacy of interventions and malaria control programmes. Therefore better markers of SM with high sensitivity and specificity are required.

Our research aims to study the molecules involved in the pathophysiology of severe malaria to improve its diagnosis and clinical management. To do this we plan to identify and quantitate the peptides and proteins that constitute the plasma proteome of children with Plasmodium falciparum severe malaria; assess the diagnostic performance of distinctive peptide/proteins identified; and to integrate proteomic, genomic and clinical data into different pathophysiological models that may explain differences in clinical outcome in severe malaria.