Malcolm McConville laboratory

Research Overview

Our research focuses on the eukaryotic microbial pathogens that cause a number of important and neglected human diseases. These include Plasmodium falciparum (the cause of malaria), Toxoplasma gondii (human toxoplasmosis) and Leishmania spp (human leishmaniasis).

There are no vaccines against any of these disease and current drug treatments are limited and constantly being undermined by the development of drug-resistance. The identification and validation of new drug targets requires a deeper understanding of the biology and metabolism of these pathogens in vivo.

To identify parasite metabolic pathways and host responses that are essential for parasite survival in their human and animal hosts we use a range of approaches. They include comprehensive metabolite profiling (or metabolomics) that employ a range of advanced analytical techniques, as well as genetic, biochemical and cell biology approaches.

photomicrograph of malaria parasite in red blood cellMass spectroscopic analysis identifying parasite metabolitesphotomicrograph of human macrophage

Figure 1: (Left) The malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum proliferates in human red blood cells. We are keen to identify how new antimalarial lead compounds work. (Centre) Advanced mass spectrometric analysis can identify hundreds to thousands of metabolites, providing a new and extremely powerful tool for studying parasite metabolism and drug responses. (Right) Leishmania parasites (outlined in green) reside within the lysosome compartment of human macrophages (outlined in white). Understanding how they do this will open up new avenues for drug development.


Members of the McConville lab

Research staff

Julie Ralton, Research Fellow
Fleur Sernee, Research Fellow
Eleanor Saunders, Research Fellow,
Vinzenz Hofferek, Research Fellow
Reetika Manhas, Post-doctoral Research fellow

Graduate students

Jiang Nan Zhu, PhD student
Erin McGowen, PhD student
Thomas Soerianto, PhD student


Australia India Strategic Research Fund  (AISRF53749) Eliminating Visceral leishmaniasis - an Australian-Indian Partnership; with Talukdar A, Ganguly D, Baell J

ARC Discovery Project (DP180102729) Uncovering novel metabolic processes in eukaryotic cells; with Stuart Ralph

ARC Discovery Project (DP180102463) Investigating pathways of lipoglycan formation in the bacterial cell wall; with Coppel R, McConville MJ and Lucet I
Project:Investigating pathways of lipoglycan formation in the bacterial cell wall.

NIH (5RO1AI103280-02)Fosmidomycin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum with Odom A

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1183177)Cryptosporidium: Tools for Target Identification and Validation; with Striepen,
NHMRC Project Grant (APP1138863)Targeting phosphoinositide metabolism in Leishmania

NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship (APP1154540) Targeting the metabolism of parasitic protozoa

National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme/Metabolomics Australia National Metabolomics Facility

NHMRC Ideas Grant (APP1183085)Targeting carbohydrate metabolism in Leishmania

Research Publications

Click here for the results of a PubMed search of Malcolm's publications.

Click here for the results of a Google Scholar analysis of Malcolm's publications.

Research Projects

For project inquiries, contact our research group head.

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Infection & Immunity, Systems Biology

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Head of Laboratory Professor Malcolm McConville

Department / Centre

Biochemistry and Pharmacology

Unit / Centre

Malcolm McConville laboratory

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