Deciphering host immunity to malaria using systems immunology

Loiseau, C., Cooper, M.M., and Doolan, D.L.

A century of conceptual and technological advances in infectious disease research has changed the face of medicine. However, there remains a lack of effective interventions and a poor understanding of host immunity to the most significant and complex pathogens, including malaria. The development of successful interventions against such intractable diseases requires a comprehensive understanding of host-pathogen immune responses. A major advance of the past decade has been a paradigm switch in thinking from the contemporary reductionist (gene-by-gene or protein-by-protein) view to a more holistic (whole organism) view. Also, a recognition that host-pathogen immunity is composed of complex, dynamic interactions of cellular and molecular components and networks that cannot be represented by any individual component in isolation. Systems immunology integrates the field of immunology with omics technologies and computational sciences to comprehensively interrogate the immune response at a systems level. Herein, we describe the system immunology toolkit and report recent studies deploying systems-level approaches in the context of natural exposure to malaria or controlled human malaria infection. We contribute our perspective on the potential of systems immunity for the rational design and development of effective interventions to improve global public health.


Loiseau, C., Cooper, M.M., and Doolan, D.L. "Deciphering host immunity to malaria using systems immunology" (2019): doi: 10.1111/imr.12814