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Karen Day runs a malaria research group studying the role that human variation and parasite diversity play in modulating the dynamics of chronic infection, in influencing susceptibility to disease and in regulating transmission from human to mosquito. She is also interested in the ability of malaria parasites to sense their environment by quorum sensing mechanisms to regulate the density of multiple Plasmodium spp infections as well as to initiate the production of transmission stages (gametocytes). The group combines genomics, computational biology and molecular epidemiology approaches to population-based studies of malaria to better improve disease control.
Key Interests: Parasitology, malaria, genetic epidemiology, microbial genomics, transmission, quorum sensing, gametocytes, antigenic variation.
Professor Karen Day
School of BioSciences
Dean of Science
E: karen.day [at] unimelb.edu.au; dean-science [at] unimelb.edu.au
Professor Karen Day is a distinguished malaria researcher dedicated to the improvement of global health. Born in Melbourne, she was educated at University of Melbourne where she obtained her BSc (Hons) with a double major in microbiology/biochemistry and a PhD in Molecular Parasitology from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI). As a young postdoctoral researcher she had the “life changing” opportunity to study the public health problems of Papua New Guineans working at the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research.
Following her postdoctoral research, Prof. Day held positions in molecular epidemiology at Imperial College, London and in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford. She was appointed a Fellow of Hertford College in 2003, becoming one of the few women “dons” in science at Oxford. She was a Founding Partner of both the Wellcome Trust Centre for the Epidemiology of Infectious Disease (WTCEID) and the interdisciplinary Peter Medawar Pathogen Evolution Research Centre at Oxford, during which time she was appointed a Visiting Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.
In 2004 she moved to New York University School of Medicine where she held several senior academic administrative roles at NYU including Chair of the Department of Medical Parasitology; Director of the Institute of Urban and Global Health; and led the development of a Masters Program in Global Public Health.
In 2014 Prof. Day was appointed the Dean of Science at The University of Melbourne where she also continues to be actively involved in running a multidisciplinary malaria research group whose aim is to understand the transmission of malaria to better define control strategies.