veski supports visit by International Scientist

3 August

Renowned malaria researcher, Professor Balbir Singh, was guest speaker at the Malaria in Melbourne 2009 conference, held at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute on 26- 27 October.

veski proudly sponsored Prof. Singh’s visit to Australia under the veski international connections program which aims to bring world renowned scientists and leading edge researchers to Victoria, ultimately facilitating world class education and training through the sharing of knowledge and experience.

Prof. Singh, the Director of the Malaria Research Centre at the University Malaysia Sarawak, delivered the key note address on malaria control and eradication before a crowd of more than 150 Victorian malaria research scientists.

Prof. Singh’s current research is focused on the discovery of a fifth human malaria parasite, Plasmodium knowlesi, a known monkey malaria that has recently been linked to human malarial cases. Prof Singh and his wife Janet are attempting to understand the epidemiology of the parasite and trace human infection patterns across South East Asia.

Malaria is responsible for approximately one million deaths annually, particularly in resource poor and tropical settings where mosquito vectors are able to thrive. The disease is characterized by initial infection of the liver, invasion of red blood cells and eventual dissemination to other vital organs such as the brain and lungs, leading to characteristic symptoms including intense fever, rigor and vomiting.

Melbourne is undoubtedly the major hub for Malaria research, with roughly 200 dedicated scientists from more than 40 laboratories working on the disease. The conference focused on raising the profile of malaria research in Victoria, and a strong emphasis was placed on showcasing research conducted by emerging early-career scientists.

veski innovation fellow, Dr Alyssa Barry said: "The Malaria in Melbourne Conference 2009 was a huge success, enhancing networks between scientists working in the field of malaria research in Victoria, but also promoting future collaborations between the Malaysian and Melbourne scientific/malaria communities."

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