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Malaria Research Institute



Overview of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute

The Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute is a scientific center dedicated to the control, prevention, and elimination of malaria. In 2022, the disease infected 242 million people and resulted in over 600,000 deaths (WHO). Women and young children are most at risk. The Institute is based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.

The Malaria Research Institute’s research advances drug discovery, vaccine development, and the design and implementation of innovative strategies against the disease. In addition to conducting fundamental research in its labs and insectary at the Bloomberg School, its scientists conduct field research at the Macha Research Trust in Zambia and other malaria-endemic countries in Africa and Southeast Asia, including India and Ethiopia.

The Institute focuses on basic science, ranging from entomology to genomics, which helps further the understanding of the principles and processes of the living organisms involved in the biology of malaria: the malaria parasite, the malaria mosquito, and the human host. This type of fundamental research underscores the applied science that follows and sets the pace of technological progress. With over 750 first- and last-authored publications in high-caliber journals, the Malaria Research Institute’s researchers contribute new knowledge utilized by innumerable scientists globally to advance scientific research to control, prevent, and eliminate the disease. 

Founded in 2001, the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute is home to 32 full-time faculty, 13 on-site labs, and one of the largest mosquito insectaries in North America. Its experts are regularly quoted in top-tier media outlets, and the Institute produces a twice-monthly podcast, Malaria Minute.


Developing methods to control the malaria mosquito.

Mosquito attraction

  • Studying human body smells to identify which scents mosquitoes are most attracted to; once identified, understanding how the mosquito detects them to develop innovative repellents and attractants. New York Times  BBC  VIDEO

Controlling reproduction

 Building a better, non-deadly mosquito

  • Furthering the science behind malaria-resistant, genetically modified mosquitoes to help identify target genes that may, when altered, prevent parasite transmission in the mosquito itself. This could be a game changer in controlling malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. LINK

Other work includes:

  • Discovered and characterized natural, eco-friendly bacteria that are toxic to mosquitoes when ingested or encountered but are not harmful to the environment; this could lead to potential innovations such as using the bacteria in sugar baits and/or lures. VIDEO  CNN
  • Developed a portable prototype surveillance system to detect insecticide-resistant malaria vector mosquitoes in the field in three hours or less. Yahoo Finance
  • Tracked the origin of the malaria cases in the state of Maryland. LINK


Developing novel ways to diagnose malaria.

  • Developed patented technology to detect malaria in urine and blood. BSPH Release


Developing the Next Generation of Vaccines.

  • Furthering vaccine development by finding a vaccine that ‘transcends’ malaria parasite strains LINK
  • Developed a “chemical vaccine” by repurposing a known antimalarial drug into a long-acting injectable drug providing weeks of protection—an attractive alternative to current prophylactics that require daily dosing. Pharma Times VIDEO
  • Developed an in vivo model to evaluate the efficacy of monoclonal antibodies—laboratory-produced molecules engineered to serve as substitute antibodies – used in human trials. LINK


Research and innovations at field sites in Africa and India to test and further the science.

  • Developing and testing genetically modified mosquito strains that will undergo evaluation in open-release trials at the University of California Malaria Initiative’s São Tomé Island laboratory; findings show that GE mosquitoes can be integrated into a malaria-transmitting population for malaria control using gene-drive technology.
  • Testing new drug combinations and front-line drugs in Zambia. LINK 
  • Lead institution for the NIH’s Southern & Central Africa International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research, conducting field research in Zambia and Zimbabwe. LINK