Anna Babakhanyan, a Tropical Medicine PhD student, successfully defended her dissertation entitled “Antibody Response to VAR2CSA in Pregnant Cameroonian
Women” on June 17, 2013. Her research helped identify immune responses that correlate with clearance of Plasmodium falciparum – infected erythrocytes from the placenta, used the results to develop statistical models for predicting a woman’s immune status, and evaluated the influence of malarial chemoprophylaxis during pregnancy on acquisition and retention of immunity to placental malaria.
Anna has received numerous honors for her research including a travel award from the American Society for Microbiology, Hawaii Chapter and a nomination for the Young Investigator Award by the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. She will be a recipient of the Joseph E. Alicata Memorial Award in Tropical Medicine for 2013. Anna has been selected as a Fogarty Global Health Fellow and will begin a project in August 2013 studying HIV and placental malaria co-infection at the Biotechnology Centre of the University of Yaounde 1 in Cameroon.