Justin Boddey is a Laboratory Head at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), Principal Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne and Leadership Fellow of the National Health & Medical Research Council of Australia.
He received a PhD in bacterial pathogenesis from Griffith University and undertook postdoctoral training on malaria at WEHI under the tutelage of Prof Alan Cowman FRS.
To expand malaria research in Australia, Justin established and operates an insectary specializing in production and infection of the malaria mosquito Anopheles stephensi. His laboratory studies post-translational modifications required for malaria parasites to infect mosquitoes and liver cells. The aim of this research is to identify enzymes and their substrates that are critical for infection and to harness this knowledge to develop new treatment options for malaria. The laboratory developed the first inhibitors of an essential aspartyl protease called plasmepsin V, which is necessary for cleavage of over 450 virulence proteins that are transported into the infected host cell. This led to a collaboration with Merck and the Wellcome Trust to develop drugs targeting plasmepsins. His laboratory has shown that inhibition of plasmepsins IX and X in liver stages provides chemoprotection from malaria and stimulates long-lasting sterile immunity.