Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 4:00 PM
IDENTIFYING MALARIA IN ANCIENT HUMAN REMAINS
This project aims to contribute to the study of malaria, specifically the cerebral strain Plasmodium falciparum, in ancient times by identifying chemical and spectral malaria indicators in archaeological bones, specifically for the polymer hemozoin, a product produced by the parasite during infection. This method would be more accessible than other methods of analyses commonly used, such as pathogen aDNA extraction, which is subject to issues such as poor preservation and inconclusive results (Kirsanow,2011). Through several stages of research, pathological expression in bone indicative of malarial infection will be isolated and such bone markers will be used as a proxy for the disease. Once a distinctive human skeletal profile for malaria is established, the pathogenesis of Plasmodium falciparum infection from historical to ancient populations in West Africa will be investigated.