Juan Balbin

Mr Juan Balbin

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

PhD Candidate

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences

I am undertaking my PhD in the Wilson Lab, Research Centre for Infectious Diseases (University of Adelaide) characterising the roles of merozoite protein homologues of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum with a focus on erythrocyte invasion.

Approximately half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, with >400,000 deaths reported annually with no effective vaccine available. In response, we must continue to identify novel proteins with promising vaccine potential. For my project I am characterising two merozoite protein homologues,  which we believe are involved in the ability of the most deadly malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, to invade red blood cells (RBCs). Specifically, my research focuses on the invasive merozoites of the blood stage lifecycle (pictured from left to right: invading merozoite, ring, trophozoite, schizont, rupturing schizont releasing daughter merozoites) - the crucial point in the P. falciparum lifecycle responsible for all clinical symptoms of malaria.

blood stage.png

For one of these proteins, Pf3D7_1468400, a previous study has suggested that antibodies raised towards this protein inhibit parasite invasion, and therefore prevented further blood stage cycles (Daubenberger et al. 2003). In support of this, gene expression data suggested this protein is highly expressed towards the end of the blood stage which inferred its role in the next round of invasion. In contrast, no studies have been conducted focusing on the structural homologue Pf3D7_0818100, but we have identified similarities in gene expression and protein structure with Pf3D7_1468400 which suggest common functions between these proteins. I anticipate that a greater understanding of the function(s) of these proteins will not only contribute to knowledge in invasion biology, but will also inform their vaccine development potential.


  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2019 - 2019 Laboratory Demonstrator (Level II MBS) The University of Adelaide
    2016 - 2016 Japanese Language Tutor - Japanese Language and Culture Society (JLACS) The University of Adelaide
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2019 Achievement Australian Society for Parasitology 2019 Conference - Best Oral Presentation Award Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. Australia
    2019 Achievement Adelaide Protein Group 2019 Student Awards - Outstanding Poster Presentation Award Adelaide Protein Group Australia
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    English Can read, write, speak and understand spoken
    Japanese Can read, write, speak and understand spoken
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2018 The University of Adelaide Australia PhD Candidate
    2015 - 2018 The University of Adelaide Australia Diploma in Languages (Japanese Studies)
    2015 - 2017 The University of Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Science (Advanced)
  • Postgraduate Training

    Date Title Institution Country
    2018 Doctor of Philosophy The University of Adelaide Australia
  • Certifications

    Date Title Institution name Country
    2018 Japanese Language Proficiency N3 Japan Foundation Japan
  • Research Interests

Funder Grant Year of award Years active
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German: German Academic Exchange Service) Australia-Germany Joint Research Co-operation Scheme 2019 2020-2021


Position Department Time active
Laboratory Demonstrator (Level II MBS) Department of Molecular and Biomedical Science Aug 2019 - Sept 2019


  • Position: PhD Candidate
  • Phone: 83138259
  • Email: juan.balbin@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Molecular Life Sciences, floor 4
  • Room: 4 18
  • Org Unit: School of Biological Sciences

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External Profiles