Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biotechnology and Biomedical Science

First Advisor

Greg Beck

Second Advisor

Colby A. Souders

Third Advisor

Kellee Siegfried-Harris


Even more than a century after the discovery of the most severe malaria-causing parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, the disease still kills nearly 1 million people every year, many of which are children. Attempts to prevent infection and curb the prevalence of the disease have reduced infection rates in recent years; however, these interventions don’t prove to be reliable, long-term, prophylactic strategies. Resistance is developing to antimalarial drugs and a recently developed vaccine, RTS,S, only exhibited modest efficacy in clinical trials. Disease burden is enormous in endemic regions of the world. Consequently, a need for a pre-exposure prophylaxis still exists for travelers and residents in these areas of the world. Data from vaccine trials and individuals with acquired immunity suggest that a monoclonal antibody could prove to be a potent protection strategy against malaria. Circumsporozoite Protein (CSP), a plasmodium surface protein expressed during initial infection, was selected as a target for monoclonal antibody discovery and produced in a soluble form. Here I describe a flow cytometry-based methodology for identifying, isolating and genotyping CSP-specific memory B cells from a peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) population.

The PBMC samples were obtained from naturally infected children in Kenya and enriched for B cells. Heavy and light chain immunoglobulin (Ig) genes were PCR amplified from sorted CSP-specific memory B cells and cloned into expression vectors to produce recombinant antibodies in a mammalian expression cell line. Screening for CSP specificity and epitope mapping revealed a cross-reactive, CSP binding monoclonal antibody. Supporting data suggests that this antibody could prove to be a viable resource in the fight against malaria. I established a platform process for discovering and identifying CSP-specific antibodies from PBMC populations of previously infected individuals.


Free and open access to this Campus Access Thesis is made available to the UMass Boston community by ScholarWorks at UMass Boston. Those not on campus and those without a UMass Boston campus username and password may gain access to this thesis through resources like Proquest Dissertations & Theses Global or through Interlibrary Loan. If you have a UMass Boston campus username and password and would like to download this work from off-campus, click on the "Off-Campus UMass Boston Users" link above.