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The scientist behind the research: Mali Camberis

25 November 2016

“I’ve always been interested in parasites – they’re quite grotesque but so fascinating,” says Mali Camberis, research manager of the allergic and parasitic diseases programme.

Mali grew up in a nature-focused family where long walks with her father provided informal biology lessons. Seeing her dad use natural products to treat injuries also led her to wonder what else in nature could be useful.

Her interest in worms started about age 10 and grew over time. Striking images of parasites such as guinea worms and tapeworms caught her attention, as did the unusual lifecycles of these creatures. While studying biology at Victoria University, parasitology was her thing.

Mali spent six years at AgResearch, took a break to have a family, then an opportunity to combine two passions – parasites and medical research – came up with a position at the Malaghan Institute.

“Twenty years later and I’m still here. A lot has changed in that time as we’ve learned more about the intriguing lifecycles of parasites and how they interact with our immune system. It’s nice to prove that they are not just nasty critters.”