Science & Technology

Malaria expert to deliver Ritter lecture at UGA

Athens, Ga. – A leading researcher on Plasmodium falciparum-the causative agent of the most severe form of malaria in humans-will share his insights at the annual Ritter Lecture Jan. 29 at 4 p.m. in room 404B of the biological sciences building at the University of Georgia.

Alan Cowman, head of the Division of Infection and Immunity at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and a professor in the department of medical biology at the University of Melbourne, Australia, will talk on “Moving and Renovating: Invasion and Remodeling of the Human Erythrocyte by the Malaria Parasite.” The lecture is free and open to the public.

Malaria causes suffering and death for millions of people in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The primary aim of Cowman’s work is to understand how the P. falciparum parasite infects humans and the mechanisms it uses to evade host immune responses. Potential vaccines for malaria are targeted to the various stages of the P. falciparum life cycle.

“Alan Cowman is a leader in the global fight against malaria,” said Boris Striepen, a Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Investigator in the UGA Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases and professor in the department of cellular biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “His research has made important contributions to understanding drug resistance and host manipulation in malaria, and his group has developed much of the technology used today to study malaria and trained many of the top researchers in the field.”

Cowman’s research awards include the 1990 Burnet Prize, the 1992 Glaxo Award for Advanced Research in Infectious Diseases, the 1993 Gottschalk Medal for Medical Science and Biology of the Australian Academy of Sciences, the 1994 Boehringer-Mannheim Medal, the 2001 Royal Society of Victoria Research Medal and the Centenary Medal from the governor-general of Australia. He has appointment as a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and as a fellow of the Royal Society (United Kingdom). In 2012, Cowman was named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Senior International Research Scholar, his fourth HHMI award.

The Ritter Lecture was established in 1999 in honor of Hope T.M. Ritter Jr., a professor emeritus of cellular biology. The series is supported by a fund created with contributions from family and friends on the occasion of Ritter’s 80th birthday and continuing on in celebration of his life and accomplishments.

The Center for Tropical and Emerging Diseases is a co-sponsor of the talk.

For more information on the Ritter Lecture, see For more information on the UGA department of cellular biology, see