Teun Bousema - Biography#

In recent years Professor Bousema has designed, coordinated and conducted studies across African settings to better understand transmission of malaria and develop transmission-reducing tools. For this purpose, he developed a safe controlled infection model where malaria naïve volunteers are infected with malaria and infectious gametocytes are induced (Reuling et al. eLife 2018). This work demonstrated that male and female gametocytes develop very early during infections (Reuling et al., eLife 2018) and persist for weeks after successful treatment (Bousema et al. J Infect Dis 2006; Bousema, Stepniewska et al. BMC Med 2010). It further uncovered that asymptomatic malaria-infected individuals frequently develop gametocytes and are able to infect mosquitoes (Gonçalves et al. Nature Comm 2017; Tadesse et al. Clin Infect Dis 2018). His team found that even infections that are undetectable by conventional diagnostics may contribute to transmission (Slater et al. Nature 2015), partially explained by the ability of parasite to strategically adjust their sex ratio to maximize the likelihood of mosquito infection (Bradley et al. eLife 2018). To reduce the spread of malaria, he coordinated studies to optimize treatment regimens to prevent malaria transmission after treatment, either by clearing parasites (Dicko et al. Lancet Infect Dis 2016; Dicko et al. Lancet Infect Dis 2018; Gonçalves et al. BMC Med 2016) or reducing survivorship of mosquitoes post-feeding (Ouédraogo et al., Clin Infect Dis 2016). One of the most intriguing recent findings from his group concerns immunity against malaria transmission stages. Malaria patients may prevent transmission to mosquitoes by antibody activity upon mosquito ingestion (Stone et al. Nature Comm 2018). This immunity may explain earlier observations that some mosquitoes may remain uninfected despite feeding on highly infected hosts (Bousema et al. Nature Rev Microbiol 2014; Bousema et al. Clin Microbiol Rev 2011).

His work contains both basic research ingredients and applied work. He regularly contributes to policy discussions (WHO Evidence Review Group meeting participation in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) and is influential in academic discussions on malaria elimination. According to a recent analysis, he is among the 20 most cited malaria researchers worldwide (doi:10.3390/ijerph15122703).

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