Dr Sarah Silk
Malaria vaccine clinical trials
My research focuses on set up, conduct and immunological analyses of blood-stage malaria vaccine candidate clinical trials. These include first-in-human phase I trials through to vaccine efficacy assessment in the UK and in a number of field sites across Africa. I work very closely with our partners to capacity build, conducting laboratory set up, training and technology transfer of immunological assays to these settings.
Controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) studies are a critical tool for down selection of vaccines. We routinely utilise the blood-stage CHMI model for Plasmodium falciparum here in Oxford, and I recently established this in a malaria endemic setting, Tanzania, for the first time.
Additionally, we have an active Plasmodium vivax programme and have both established the blood-stage CHMI model and conducted a number of trials with our valuable bank of P. vivax inoculum to date.
Through characterisation of the humoral and cellular immune responses in these studies we aim to understand the key factors driving a functional and long-lived response in order to guide vaccine development and optimisation.