Philip Bejon awarded MRC Clinical Scientist Fellowship
Philip Bejon has been awarded an MRC Clinical Scientist Fellowship to study the heterogeneity of malaria transmission, particularly in Kenya but also in other parts of Africa. He did his DPhil in malaria immunology and vaccine development with Adrian Hill before joining the KEMRI-Wellcome Unit to work on vaccine field trials and other areas of clinical epidemiology. Philip has also worked for some years as a consultant physician in infectious diseases in Oxford. This Fellowship will allow him to play a lead the role in the MRC Centre for Genomics and Global Health, by developing analytical methods to bring together fine-scale epidemiological observations of the spatial and temporal distribution of malaria with novel genomic approaches for defining the structure and dynamics of parasite and mosquito populations.
Philip explains his work:
“Malaria transmission is patchy at a local level, with hotspots of intense transmission. This hinders control measures, but also means that targeting additional interventions on hotspots will be highly effective. At present, we do not know how best to detect these hotspots, or how to apply the interventions available. For example, we need to know how much transmission in the surrounding area results from the hotspot, and how focal the point source is. I will analyse a large volume of historical data on malaria from coastal Kenya, supplemented by data from the Gambia in West Africa, to determine the spatial patterns of hotspots and how they might be detected. I will extend my findings by collaborations with investigators collecting spatial data on malaria cases in Gambia, Indonesia and elsewhere in Africa. In collaboration with other groups in the MRC Centre for Genomics and Global Health, I will conduct detailed genotyping studies to assign a ‘bar-code’ to malaria parasites. This will allow me to distinguish the recent origin of malaria parasites isolated in the field, in order to inform the design of targeted interventions against hotspots.”