Issue 8
Monday, 05 June 2017
Charles Darwin University
Dr Matthew Grigg with Professor Nick Anstey
Dr Matthew Grigg with Professor Nick Anstey

PhD research probes monkey malaria

By Leanne Miles

Matthew Grigg moved from a farming community in Victoria to work in Indigenous health in the NT, but that was just the start of his experience of remote communities.

As a PhD candidate at CDU, Dr Grigg not only discovered the remote communities of the Top End, but also the rural communities of Malaysian Borneo.

A medical practitioner, Dr Grigg became interested in working in infectious diseases during his internship at Royal Darwin Hospital.
“I arrived in Darwin in 2008 and had been working as a clinician in Darwin, Katherine and remote communities,” Dr Grigg said.

“It was there that I met Professor Nick Anstey from Menzies School of Health Research and was afforded the incredible opportunity to become involved in working on some of his malaria projects.”

From there he enrolled in a PhD with CDU to study a type of monkey malaria (Plasmodium knowlesi) reported to be infecting humans mainly in Malaysian Borneo, and travelled to the jungles of Malaysia as a result.

“CDU was the obvious place to study given my ties to Darwin and being located so close to Malaysia where the research was happening,” he said.

“I have been lucky enough to be working on a recently emerging species of zoonotic malaria, so most of the work we are doing is very exciting and hasn’t been done before.”

Dr Grigg is a post-doctoral clinical research fellow at Menzies School of Health Research, working mainly on malaria projects.

“Adding to our collective understanding of this disease is not only intellectually stimulating and endlessly fascinating, but it also has had practical and beneficial outcomes for people and rural communities in Malaysia,” he said.

Dr Grigg graduated with his PhD entitled “Risk factors, clinical features and treatment of human infection with Plasmodium knowlesi and other Plasmodium species in Sabah, Malaysia” at CDU’s mid-year graduation ceremonies last week.