Ms Sophia Donvito
Student Representative (2023-)
PhD Student at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Sophia is an MRC-LID PhD candidate at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), investigating red blood cell invasion ligands used by two species of parasite which cause malaria in humans in Southeast Asia, Plasmodium knowlesi and Plasmodium vivax. Her work aims to learn more about the role of key parasite protein families (Duffy binding proteins and the reticulocyte binding-like proteins) in mediating host cell tropism, by using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing of Plasmodium knowlesi parasites in culture. By learning more about the role of these invasion ligands during the disease-causing blood stage of malaria infection, this work will help identify how these proteins may be targeted effectively in future vaccine development efforts. Prior to the DTP, Sophia completed an MSc in Medical Parasitology at LSHTM where she worked on a project identifying antibody responses associated with severe versus mild P. falciparum malaria. Previously, she was awarded her BSc (Hons) in Infectious Diseases from The University of Edinburgh, where she completed her Honours Project at The Roslin Institute using rodent models to study the impact of malaria infection on gut permeability and susceptibility to bacterial sepsis.