Program Director/Principal Investigator (Last, First, Middle): GOWDA, Channe D PROJECT SUMMARY (See instructions): Although P. vivax infection has been commonly considered to be benign, in recent years it has been associated with severe malaria with significant fatalities. Like in other parts of the world, P. vivax malaha infection predominates in India, including South India. Despite the enormity of P. vivax associated malaria health burden, research efforts to understand the pathophysiological and immunological basis for P. vivax severe malaria have been meager. So far very little or no malaria research, especially on P. vivax, is being undertaken in South India, particularly in the Karnataka State. This Is due to lack of resources and scarcity of skilled and experienced malaria investigators. The overall goal of this grant application is to train young and meritorious PhD students from India on P. vivax malaria in Mangalore city of Southwestern Karnataka. The training will be given by a group of expert Indian and US investigators recruited to this program. Four PhD students will be trained on P. vivax malaria so that they become expert investigators and are able to take up independent studies on aspects of malaria that are relevant to the study region. The training will be imparted through field studies, laboratory research work, and by organizing symposia and workshops. Specific research aspects for training include: (i) to study the epidemiology of malaria infection and parasite drug resistance, (ii) to gain information on the clinical presentations of P. vivax malaria and cytokine responses, and (iii) to understand the impact of P. vivax infection in pregnant women. The long-term goals are to support and foster research projects taken up by trainees as independent investigators, conducting research on malaria in the Southwestern region of India.
P. vivax malaria that was so far considered to be benign is becoming increasingly fatal in many parts of the world, including India and as such, vivax malaria is a global concern. Appropriate control measures and in- depth understanding of drug resistance and parasite biology in various affected regions are required for the global malaria control. This training program will help advance our knowledge on P. vivax malaria in Southwestern India, the region in which so far no significant research efforts have been made despite the wide spread infection and health burden.