Department of Physics

Postgraduate research profiles


Stephan Karl

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 7161

Start date

Mar 2008

Submission date

Mar 2012

Stephan Karl


Iron metabolism in the malaria parasite


Malaria parasites live in the red blood cells of their hosts. There they metabolize hemoglobin. A waste product of this metabolism is a heme polymer known as malaria pigment or hemozoin. Malaria pigment has unique magnetic properties which can be exploited in multiple different ways in malaria research and diagnosis. One of the main applications enabled by the magnetic properties of malaria infected red blood cells is magnetic fractionation. Infected cells can be fractionated from uninfected cells with very high efficiency. This research deals with the development and application of quantitative magnetic fractionation techniques to malaria infected blood samples for laboratory and field based research. Furthermore this study investigates the magnetic behavior of malaria pigment and related physical properties.

Why my research is important

An important result of this research is the development of an application of magnetic fractionation to dramatically enhance the detection of transmissive malaria parasites in human blood. Magnetic fractionation is much easier to conduct than current molecular techniques that achieve similar sensitivities.


  • IPRS


Department of Physics

This Page

Last updated:
Monday, 2 August, 2010 2:54 PM