The Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute is multi-disciplinary and collaborates with the faculty in the Department of Epidemiology.
Dr. Bill Moss studies of the epidemiology of malaria are conducted through the Southern Africa International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMR) funded by the National Institutes of Health.
The Southern Africa ICEMR has on-going research activities in three field sites representing different epidemiological settings: Choma District in rural southern Zambia with declining transmission and the potential for malaria elimination; Mutasa District in eastern Zimbabwe on the border with Mozambique with resurgent malaria and large seasonal outbreaks; and Nchelenge District in northern Zambia on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo with perennial high levels of malaria transmission despite control efforts. A fourth site in the Democratic Republic of Congo is being established. In the low transmission setting, epidemiological studies are directed toward characterizing the asymptomatic parasite reservoir, assessing the risk of imported malaria and optimizing reactive case detection strategies to further reduce transmission. In the setting of resurgent malaria, the studies aim to characterize the spatial risk factors for malaria and optimize current control strategies. In the high burden setting, the studies aim to understand the drivers of transmission, including population movement, and evaluate the effectiveness of a recent targeted indoor residual spray campaign. A variety of tools and approaches are used to address these goals, including high resolution satellite imagery and remotely-sensed data to generate spatial risk maps; molecular techniques to identify low-level parasitemia by PCR, gametocyte carriers by RT-PCR, and SNP analyses for genetic bar coding of parasites; serologic assays to measure antibodies to parasite antigens and mosquito salivary proteins; and GPS loggers to track individual movement to assess the risk of imported malaria. Concurrent mosquito collections permit analyses linking malaria epidemiology with vector bionomics. Study findings are translated into policy decisions through ties to the national malaria control programs and their partners in Zambia and Zimbabwe.