Dr. Silvia Kariuki


Prof. Tom Williams Dr. Julian Rayner

I am broadly interested in the genetic architecture of complex traits, and specifically identifying genetic factors associated with disease susceptibility. My doctoral thesis work at the University of Chicago involved endophenotype mapping to identify novel genetic polymorphisms associated with complex traits such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and vitamin D response in the immune system. My current project at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Program involves functional validation of several genetic polymorphisms that have been previously reported to confer substantial protection against severe malaria. I am interested in uncovering the molecular mechanisms through which these polymorphisms confer their protective effect, through application of several experimental techniques such as preference invasion assays, rosetting and cytoadhesion assays. A better understanding of the protective mechanisms afforded by these genetic polymorphisms could inform the development of new methods for the control and treatment of malaria.