Tom Rawlinson

When not in the lab or out in the field, it’s always a great pleasure to emerge from my malariologist’s niche and spend time among a throng of other-ologists at Lincoln College, discussing anything and everything..…except malaria.

Clinical Medicine

Having treated malaria patients in various countries and all too frequently seen its deadly outcome, I was delighted to join a research group in Oxford working on malaria vaccines.

As a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Fellow at The Jenner Institute, my research is focused on developing a vaccine against Plasmodium vivax malaria. It is the most widespread of the human malarias but, having been historically mislabelled as ‘benign’ malaria, has been overlooked by researchers. Its relentless, relapsing nature causes a huge global morbidity burden and it can be far from benign.

The starting point of my research was the first ever human trial of a vaccine targeting the blood stage of the disease. From this I have isolated a panel of monoclonal antibodies against a crucial P. vivax red blood cell invasion protein. I am currently testing these antibodies in field assays in Asia and East Africa and have had some encouraging results.

With over a hundred years of collective failure behind us, it is easy to feel pessimistic about the prospects of an effective malaria vaccine. It may be beginner’s optimism, but based on what I’ve seen in the labs here in Oxford, I think we’ll get there.

When not in the lab or out in the field, it’s always a great pleasure to emerge from my malariologist’s niche and spend time among a throng of other-ologists at Lincoln College, discussing anything and everything..…except malaria.

It was an honour to be awarded a Lincoln Senior Scholarship and I thoroughly enjoy the wonderful food and company this allows me.

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