Molly Carlier

Research interests

My research interests are infectious disease pharmacology and exploring host-parasite protein interactions at the molecular level. I have chosen to pursue these interests by undertaking training as part of the Wellcome Trust 4-Year PhD programme in Hosts, Pathogens and Global Health.

PhD aims

A unique feature of Plasmodium falciparum malaria is the ability of infected red blood cells to bind to multiple uninfected red blood cells to form clusters called rosettes. These rosette cell clusters can lead to microvascular obstruction and immune evasion resulting in life-threatening symptoms such as severe anaemia, seizures, coma and even death. Rosetting is mediated by expression of parasite protein Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein One (PfEMP1), however, due to its highly polymorphic nature, PfEMP1 presents a difficult vaccine target.

The aim of my PhD is to characterise a human red blood cell receptor that interacts with PfEMP1 to cause adhesion between cells thereby forming rosettes. When this receptor is targeted with a specific antibody, rosetting is decreased by greater than 60% indicating that drugs targeting this host receptor may be an effective anti-rosetting adjunctive therapy. I aim to explore the therapeutic potential of this antibody and determine a key host-parasite interaction implicated in severe malaria.



  • Hosts, Pathogens and Global Health 4-year PhD Programme, University of Edinburgh


  • BSc Pharmacology (Hons), University of Aberdeen