Mathematical model of the lipid metabolism in the parasite Plasmodium falciparum during the asexual blood stage

Plasmodium falciparum is the most deadly malaria causative protozoan parasite and responsible for the majority of malaria cases worldwide, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. As such, studying this particular parasite is essential for understanding the biology of malaria and developing effective strategies for prevention and treatment.

The asexual blood stage of P. falciparum is responsible for the clinical symptoms of malaria, such as fever, anemia, and organ damage, which can lead to death.

The lipid metabolism of P. falciparum during this stage is complex and involves both the acquisition of lipids from the host erythrocytes and the synthesis of lipids by the parasite itself. Understanding the lipid metabolism of the parasite is important for future development of new drugs to treat malaria.


The project aims to understand the lipid metabolism during this stage, with the help of mathematical modeling, here using Ordinary differential equations (ODE). The project time is 6 months.


Project plan:

3 month study project:

Literature research:

  1. Malaria biology

  2. P. falciparum lipid metabolism

  3. Mathematical modeling with ODEs

Practical Part:

  1. Programming with python

  2. ODE modeling with the python package tellurium

  3. Building a first model of lipid metabolism 


3 month Bachelor Thesis:

  1. Finalizing the lipid metabolism model
  2. Parameter scan for selected parameters
  3. Sensitivity analysis using MCA



Wein et al.  „Contribution of the precursors and interplay of the pathways in the phospholipid metabolism of the malaria parasite“. Journal of Lipid Research 59, Nr. 8 (1. August 2018): 1461–71.






Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institute of Biology,
Theoretical Biophysics, 10099 Berlin, Germany