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ASTMH Annual Meeting 2015

Mark your calendars for ASTMH 2015

Event 25 Oct 2015
Roberto Amato presents P. falciparum Community Project findings at ASTMH 2014

We’re looking forward to the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene (ASTMH) 64th Annual Meeting. As always, the programme is filled with malaria-related talks, symposiums, posters – and great opportunities to connect with colleagues.

Below we’ve highlighted a few interesting sessions that we plan to attend, some of which involve MalariaGEN and our partners. We hope to see you there!

If you won’t be able to attend this year’s meeting, follow along online. We’ll be sharing malaria-related updates on Twitter (follow @malariagenomics) and on our Facebook page.

Symposia

The Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016–2030 was endorsed by the World Health Assembly in May 2014 and provides a framework for countries to develop programmes for accelerating towards malaria elimination. Led by Pedro Alonso from the WHO Global Malaria Programme, this symposium will review the current strategy and policy, focusing on three pillars: 1. Ensure universal access to malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment; 2. Accelerate efforts towards elimination and attainment of malaria-free states; 3. Transform malaria surveillance into a core intervention.

Mathematical modelling of the dynamics of parasite and mosquito populations has a rich history and has been instrumental in the design, application, and evaluation of interventions. Led by Lauren Childs and Caroline Buckee from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, this symposium will focus on how mathematical models at various scales — from within host population dynamics to those of epidemiological patterns of disease transmission — are being applied to understand malaria population dynamics and disease transmission.

Although the existence of low-density infections has been known for many years, the advent of molecular diagnostics is deepening our understanding of this asymptomatic reservoir and its role in malaria transmission. Arjen Dondorp will discuss his colleagues’ experience in determining the sub-clinical low-density infectious reservoir in Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam and how the description is dependent on the limits of detection of the tests used. Dominic Kwiatkowski will examine the genetic diversity within these reservoirs and attempt to explain the differences found. The symposium also includes presentations from Ingrid Felger, who will look at bringing together the development of immunity and genetic diversity that result in sub-clinical and low-density infections, and from Katherine Torres, who will focus on what we know (or don’t know) about the infectiousness of the low-density reservoir.

Scientific sessions

Artemisinin resistance in Southeast Asia threatens the efficacy of all three ACTs used in the region. Led by Rick Fairhurst from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Nicholas White, Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, this symposium will examine the use of artemisinin combination therapies in the context of the emergence and spread of resistance in Southeast Asia. Drawing on recently published and unpublished data from the Tracking Resistance to Artemisinin Collaboration II (TRAC II), presenters will consider the current challenges for ACTs and explore the available evidence on Triple Artemisinin Combination Therapies (TACTs).

As part of this varied scientific session, Alistair Miles will be giving a presentation: ‘Deep sequencing of Anopheles gambiae from natural populations spanning sub-Saharan Africa – a resource for vector control research.’ In his talk, he’ll give an overview of the Ag1000G Phase 1 data resource, the largest open access genomic data resource for any vector species. In generating this resource, whole genome sequence data on 765 wild-caught mosquitoes from eight African countries were used to discover more than 52 million single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) – staggeringly, this equates with roughly one change for every two accessible bases. Alistair will walk participants through this spectacular natural diversity, and share initial results of population genetic analyses, focusing on applications to malaria epidemiology and vector control.

Co-chair of the session, Chris Jacob, who recently joined the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, will be sharing large-scale genetic approaches to identifying candidate drug and immune targets in his talk ‘Large-scale scans for genomic regions under positive selection in Southeast Asian Plasmodium falciparum reveal genes of public health importance’. Using DNA microarray and whole genome sequencing, Chris and his colleagues genotyped approximately 30,000 loci in more than 2,000 samples from 19 geographic locations across the Greater Mekong Subregion. They then used several methods to locate regions of the P. falciparum genome that are potentially under positive directional selection within each geographic area; further analyses identified the most highly-selected genomic regions shared across all sites. There are 245 genes within the most highly-selected regions, including genes with potential impact for public health.

This symposium will discuss the application of molecular epidemiological strategies to inform operational decision-making toward malaria control and elimination. Led by Dyann Wirth, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Deirdre Joy, National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, the symposium will begin with short presentations to provide the audience with relevant information on the use of molecular genetic approaches, implementation and operational decision-making, and epidemiological modelling. Speakers include Richard Steketee, PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative; Sarah Volkman, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Bryan Greenhouse, University of California, San Francisco; Philip Eckhoff, Institute for Disease Modelling; and, Bruno Moonen, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Presentations will be followed by a panel discussion and debate about the proposed use of molecular genetics for implementation and best strategies for implementation and timing of these approaches.

Poster sessions

24. Poster Session A
Monday, 26 October, 12:00-1:45pm
Location: Convention Center – Ballroom AB

Learn about the latest analyses from our P. falciparum Community Project partners:

135. Poster Session C
Wednesday, 28 October, 12:00-1:45pm
Location: Convention Center – Ballroom AB

Learn more about the latest analyses from the Ag1000G project: