Silvia N Kariuki, PhD
KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya
Silvia Kariuki postdoctoral research fellow at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya, working on host genetic variants associated with protection against malaria. She is interested in characterising the molecular mechanisms through which these genetic variants confer their protective effect. Her recent work involved functionally validating the Dantu blood group variant, a strongly protective complex structural genetic variant that is found at highest frequency in East Africa. Through a highly collaborative multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary effort, we found that the Dantu variant confers its malaria-protective effect through impacting the biomechanical properties of the red blood cell membrane.