Malaria parasites live and reproduce within red blood cells in the human body. To ensure a comfortable home for themselves, these parasites change the human host cells to their own ends.

In our laboratory, we aim to understand how this process takes place and identify the molecular players involved in these processes. To this end we use reverse genetics paired with protein biochemistry, molecular biology and fluorescence microscopy to take a closer look at parasite biology. 

Current projects in the lab aim to:

  • Understand the role of exported proteins in host cell modification 
  • Understand how parasite proteins are trafficked to various subcellular localisations within the infected erythrocyte

  • Understand the role of parasite-encoded co-chaperones and their interaction with host cell chaperones in development of virulence and pathogenesis. 

  • Develop new tools to study parasite biology.

Our overall goal is to identify parasite-specific mechanisms and proteins which may allow the targeted development of novel antimalarial therapies.

Malaria parasites live within human erythrocytes. Upon entering the host cell, they generate novel “bumps” on the surface, referred to as Knobs, which are required for parasite survival in the body.

In this study (Click here!), the Przyborski lab used reverse genetics paired with electron tomography to study a mutant parasite strain, and revealed that one particular protein is essential for correct biogenesis of the Knobs. 

Targeting this protein with drugs may allow the immune system to destroy the parasites and protect people from malaria.  


We receive generous support from the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Hessian LOEWE Programme and the German Academic Exchange Programme (DAAD). Jude Przyborski is supported by a Heisenberg Professorship from the DFG. 

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