$1.3 million in NHMRC funding for malaria research

Researchers from Deakin University’s Faculty of Health have received funding totalling more than $3.5 million in 2023 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Ideas grants.

Dr Jennifer Browne, Professor Alyssa Barry, Associate Professor Tim Silk and Dr Nandita Vijayakumar will each lead projects that aim to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Australia and abroad, in areas spanning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, youth mental health, malaria treatment and ADHD.

The NHMRC’s Ideas Grant scheme supports innovative research projects of one to five years addressing specific research questions. The scheme funds researchers at all career stages across all areas of health and medical research.

Executive Dean for the Faculty of Health, Professor Rachel Huxley, says Deakin’s successful projects demonstrate the broad and transdisciplinary nature of the Faculty’s research.

‘Deakin is recognised as a leader in innovative, high-quality health and medical research that translates into real-world applications.  Our focus on translation means we provide the evidence needed to inform programs and policies that make a real difference to health and wellbeing,’

Professor Rachel Huxley

‘Congratulations to our four successful Chief Investigators and their teams on this success – I look forward to seeing how this vital work progresses.’

IMPACT’s Professor Alyssa Barry, who is Co-Director of the Centre for Innovation in Infectious Disease and Immunology Research (CIIDIR) was awarded $1.3 million to explore malaria treatments.

Professor Alyssa Barry

Predicting the emergence and spread of drug resistant malaria parasites


The emerging resistance of the human malaria parasite ‘Plasmodium falciparum’ to available antimalarial treatments is an ongoing threat to the control and elimination of malaria in many parts of the world.

While Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs) were introduced in the early 2000s, growing resistance to ACTs and its partner drugs threatens to reverse gains made against malaria in the last two decades.

Capitalising on Professor Barry’s and the research team’s established epidemiological research and surveillance programs in Papua New Guinea this project will focus on the spread of the drug-resistant malaria parasite.

Using extensive blood sample collections and a parasite biobank, the cross-disciplinary team will use a combination of genomic epidemiology, functional genomics and classical genetics to understand the genetic determinants underlying this malaria mutation and how it has emerged and is spreading in this region.