[ASC-media] Public Lecture - Malaria: the plant connection

Mona Akbari Mona.Akbari at science.org.au
Wed Mar 23 01:46:44 CET 2011

Dear ASC'ers

The Australian Academy of Science invites you to its April public lecture on Malaria: the plant connection - details below. Please note the lecture will also be available live from http://science.org.au/events/publiclectures/fs/index.html at 6 pm on 5 April.

Kind regards

Dr Mona Akbari  Communications and Media Officer
Australian Academy of Science  Ian Potter House, Gordon Street, Acton ACT 2601  |  GPO Box 783, Canberra ACT 2601
T (02) 6201 9452  M  0447 679 612  F (02) 6201 9494  E mona.akbari at science.org.au<mailto:mona.akbari at science.org.au>  www.science.org.au<http://science.org.au/>

Malaria: The plant connection<http://science.org.au/events/publiclectures/fs/mcfadden.html>

An Australian Academy of Science public lecture series on Fenner's Science Today and Tomorrow

Professor Geoffrey McFadden FAA
ARC Federation Fellow, University of Melbourne

Malaria is a major global health problem. The World Health Organization estimates that 500 million are infected and 1 million people die each year. There is currently no vaccine and the parasite is now resistant to most existing drugs. Our research has recently revealed that the malaria parasite was originally a plant-like organism that survived by photosynthesis. We have found major genetic traces of a plant-like metabolism in malaria parasites. This tells us that the parasite moved from its life in the ocean as a unicellular plant to a new parasitic lifestyle in human blood. Importantly, this revelation has offered us new ways to combat the disease using drugs and herbicides initially designed to kill plants. We have found that these herbicidal compounds, some of which are non-toxic to humans, work against malaria too.

Tuesday 5 April 2011, 6-7 pm
Refreshments from 5.30 pm
Shine Dome, Gordon Street, Canberra
Free entry and parking

RSVP is not essential but would assist with catering
Contact: eleanor.paynter at science.org.au<mailto:eleanor.paynter at science.org.au> or 6201 9453

Geoffrey McFadden studied at the University of Melbourne, making two trips to Antarctica to study sea ice algae while completing a PhD at the Botany School. He then took up a three-year postdoctoral position in algal cell biology in Muenster, Germany. Geoff returned to Australia on a prestigious QEII Fellowship to join Professor Adrienne Clarke's Plant Cell Biology Research Centre where he worked on the molecular biology of barley and tobacco. He subsequently received an ARC Senior Research Fellowship, then a Professorial Research Fellowship to investigate the origin of chloroplasts by endosymbiosis. In 1995, Geoff took up a post as guest scientist at the Institute for Marine Biosciences in Halifax Canada. Geoff currently holds the Australian Research Council's premier post of Federation Fellow at the School of Botany, in the University of Melbourne. He has received numerous awards including the Academy's Frederick White Prize in 1998.

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