Professor Matt Higgins

EP Abraham Professor of Structural Biology

Matt is associated with the Department of Biochemistry, the Kavli Institute for NanoScience Discovery and the Dunn School of Pathology.


Many human diseases, such as malaria, amoebiasis and sleeping sickness are caused by tiny parasites. To survive and replicate within our bodies, these parasites must interact with molecules found on the surfaces of our cells and tissues. For example, the malaria parasites need to get inside our red blood cells to allow them to replicate and a complex sequence of molecular interactions is required for this process of red blood cell invasion. Parasites must also resist the effects of the molecules and cells of our immune system and they have developed many tricks to allow them to survive. We can learn from these tricks to stop our immune systems from misfiring. Matt’s research team understand, at a detailed molecular level, how these essential interactions work. They also use the tools of rational protein design to apply this knowledge to produce improved vaccines and therapeutics for diseases such as malaria.

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