David Plaza

David Plaza

Assistant Professor
Visiting address: B2:03, Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset Solna, 17176 Stockholm
Postal address: K2 Medicin, Solna, K2 Infekt Färnert A, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • *ETH Zurich. Zurich, Switzerland. *PhD in Microbiology and Immunology. Institute of Microbiology. Group Prof. Dr. Markus Aebi and Prof. Dr. Markus
    *Uppsala University. Uppsala, Sweden.* MSc in Biology (Immunology and Infection Biology). Faculty of Science and Technology. Group Prof. Dr. Sandra
    *Universidad Nacional de Colombia.* *Bogotá, Colombia.* BSc in Biology. Department of Biology. Faculty of Science. Group Prof. Dr. Lucy Gabriela


  • Malaria causes half a million deaths every year and a fully protective vaccine is urgently needed. /Plasmodium falciparum/ uses antigenic
    variability as an escape strategy from the host’s immune response
  • furthermore, structural variation and the widespread presence of insertions
    and deletions drive a large proportion of the genomic diversity in the parasite. Therefore, the design of a strain-transcending vaccine against
    malaria requires a careful selection of antigens that accounts for the sequence diversity observed in proteins on a population level. Despite recent
    advances in high throughput sequencing, the antigenic repertoire of /P. falciparum/ is largely unknown. Nevertheless, several proteins of the
    parasite have been developed into subunit-based vaccines while just a few have taken the polymorphic nature of the parasite's antigens into
    consideration. In my project, I'm trying to bridge the gap existing between the molecular epidemiology and genetic diversity of polymorphic antigens
    shown to be important in the development of naturally-acquired immunity to /P. falciparum/, and the design of a vaccine formulation capable of eliciting strain-transcending protection against human malaria.

    In addition, I'm applying AI modelling tools (e.g. Alphafold2) to identify epitopes on parasite proteins that could be targeted by neutralizing antibodies, as well as human allele variants involved in natural resistance to malaria.


  • Since 2019, I've been coordinating the largest assignment for the course "Molecular Medicine - Cardiometabolic and Infectious Diseases" that is part of the undergrad programme in Biomedicine. I'm also a lecturer for the PhD course "Basic Immunology" that belongs to the programme in Allergy, Immunology and Inflammation of MedS where I give the lecture "Immune Response to Protozoan Infections". Last but not least, I've been the main organizer and one of the lecturers for the biennial doctoral course "Clinical and Molecular Parasitology and Mycology" (5234, 1.5 credit points) offered by MTC in 2021 and 2023.


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