205. University of Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal

Please Note: Applying for this internship will not count against the three application limit, so you may apply for it in addition to three others. You do not need to receive permission to submit the additional application.

Malaria is one of the greatest health challenges in the world, and the majority of disease transmission occurs in developing countries where it becomes an important obstacle to economic development. Drug resistance of Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly human malaria parasite, makes malaria control very difficult. The World Health Organization has identified three assessment approaches for antimalarial drug susceptibility of P. falciparum: in vivo drug study, in vitro drug assay, and drug resistance molecular marker. These approaches require researchers to have access to infected red blood cells directly from infected patients, which are only available in endemic areas. The Wirth laboratory applies population genetic approaches to questions of malaria transmission and disease. With Professor Ndiaye’s group at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar we interrogate patterns of parasite drug resistance and population structure to infer biological changes and assess effectiveness of intervention strategies against malaria.

Summer Project:

The student will work closely with a postdoctoral fellow on a project to track parasite population diversity in Senegal using the molecular barcode developed by the Wirth group at HSPH. The student will spend a couple weeks in Boston for initial training and will spend the majority of the internship with the Ndiaye team at L’Hopital Aristide Le Dantec in Dakar Senegal, to investigate the study question.


  1. Understand the study question, hypotheses and methods.
  2. Learning molecular tools and biological concepts (Plasmodium Biology; Malaria Transmission; Genotyping; Parasite Population Genomics).
  3. Power point presentation of the study at the completion of the internship.


  • Proficiency in French and a love for infectious disease research and public health issues.
  • Students should have taken courses in Molecular and Cellular Biology, Genetics, Population Genomics, Public Health, Epidemiology, Computational Biology and Bioinformatics.
  • We expect students will have some experience in a laboratory setting (basic science research, aseptic technique) whether through work, internships or academic courses. Students will go through some training as part of the onboarding process—these will cover laboratory general safety and biosafety, research conduct and ethics—as well as project-specific training.

Other Details:

This internship will be located in both Boston and Senegal. The approximate breakdown of dates are May 29 – June 9 (Boston) ; June 12 – July 29 (Dakar) ; July 31 – Aug 5 (Boston).

The Wirth and Ndiaye groups will arrange housing in Senegal. This will be coordinated weeks prior to the start of the internship. The cost fluctuates every year. The studio will be equipped with WiFi and will be fully furnished. It will be walking distance from the laboratory, the downtown and shopping areas. Cleaning and laundry services will be available per request. The apartment address is: Jules Ferry Apartments, Rue Jules Ferry; Dakar Plateau, Dakar, Senegal

Click here for instructions on how to apply.

See also: See All, ISURGH, Africa