The Malaria and NTD Directorate of the Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI) would like to recruit five MSc students. The MSc projects will be supported by African Centre for hrp2/3 Deletion Surveillance (ACHIDES) project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Students will be part of a vibrant group of researchers and interact with scientists in Ethiopia and the US. In the first phase of the project students will support sample collection in different sites in Ethiopia. In the second phase of the project, they will conduct laboratory research and/or data analysis in the state-of-the-art research facilities of AHRI in Adama. All projects are of high relevance to better understand malaria epidemiology and support malaria control.
Tentative Project Titles
- Travel as risk factor for malaria
In many places, travel increases the risk of malaria infections. The reasons are not fully understood and include stays in sites of higher transmission (e.g. when traveling from the highlands to the lowlands), lack of protection (e.g. bed nets) when traveling, or changes in behaviour and living conditions (e.g. in case of migrant workers). For this project, data from 19 ACHIDES collection sites across Ethiopia will be combined. The risk of travel on clinical malaria will be studied across different sites, different demographic groups, and different seasons.
- The relationship between falciparum multiplicity of infection and transmission intensity in clinical cases across Ethiopia
Individuals are often infected with multiple clones of P. falciparum at the same time. The frequency of multiple clone infections might serve as a surrogate marker for transmission intensity, but the relationship with measures such as the number of clinical cases or test positivity rate is not well understood. Their presence also affects estimates of hrp2 deletion and of the frequency of drug resistance mutations. We will conduct msp2 genotyping on samples collected in different sites in Ethiopia, and investigate how measures of multiplicity change with transmission intensity, across seasons, and with age.
- The relationship between vivax multiplicity of infection and transmission intensity in clinical cases across Ethiopia
As for P. falciparum, P. vivax multiple clone infections are common. While in P. falciparum they are the result of repeated mosquito bites or of a single genetically diverse infection, in P. vivax they can also be the result of relapse. Understanding their frequency is important as surrogate marker of transmission intensity and to evaluate the impact of control. We will genotype
samples collected across Ethiopia using size-polymorphic markers, and study how the frequency changes between sites, and across seasons.
- P. falciparum mdr1 and Plasmepsin copy number variations across Ethiopia
Copy number variations of the gene multidrug resistance transporter 1 (mdr1) are associated with resistance against several drugs, including chloroquine, piperaquine, mefloquine, and lumefantrine, the current first-line partner drug for ACT in Ethiopia. P. falciparum Plasmepsin gene copy number variations have recently been discovered to be important mediators of drug resistance. We will use innovative droplet digital PCR assays to measure copy number variations in isolates collected across Ethiopia. This project will add important knowledge for surveillance and early detection of drug resistance in Ethiopia.
- P. vivax duffy binding protein 2 gene amplifications
Until recently, it was believed that P. vivax cannot infect Duffy negative individuals, and thus that P vivax is absent from most of Africa. Increasingly, infections are reported in Duffy negative individuals, and in countries with no P. vivax reported previously. Multiplications of the dbp2 gene appear to allow P. vivax to infect Duffy negative individuals. Ethiopia, with its diverse population of Duffy positive and negative individuals can give important insights into the epidemiology of P. vivax. We will determine gene amplification patterns in samples collected across Ethiopia using innovative droplet digital PCR technology.
The studentship will typically be for one year and the project will be active starting from the date of acceptance.
Value of studentship
The value of studentship covers all the research costs and a stipend that will be paid on a monthly basis from the project. There will not be additional payment (per-diem) for field work.
Applicants should hold a first degree in any disciplines of life sciences, must be an Ethiopian national, currently registered in one of the Universities in Ethiopia, and completed the course work of their MSc program.
How to apply
Application should be done through an online submission at
During the online application, the following documents are required:
- Copies of BSc degree academic record
- Motivation letter, one page CV and email address and phone number of two referees
- Copy of transcript of MSc courses
Note: Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply
Application closing date: Ten working days after the date of advertisement