Dr. Mallika Imwong is a Professor in the Department of Molecular Tropical Medicine and Genetics. She has an M.Sc. in Environmental Biology and Ph.D. in Tropical Medicine from Mahidol University. Prof. Mallika is an established malariologist, with numerous awards recognizing her achievements in malaria research. She won national awards for inventing Ultra-sensitive qPCR, a molecular diagnostic technique that can reveal asymptomatic potentially infected malaria patients.


Prof. Mallika has conducted academic research since 2001 in the molecular biology field of malaria drug resistance to further our fundamental understanding of epidemic malarial and related drug-resistance mechanisms, and as a contribution to the global objective to eliminate malaria. Prof. Imwong has 159 [Scopus] articles on malaria, with an h-index of 46 and total of 9,074 citations (as at July 19, 2019). The highlights of her work in the molecular biology field of epidemiology are briefly summarized below:

1. Developing a high volume-sensitive qPCR test for a population of infected but asymptomatic patients that would have been detected by previous means. The high volume-sensitive qPCR test, which has 2,000 times greater sensitivity than the traditional methods of microscopic detection or normal PCR to detect low-level infections (22 parasites/mL), which leads to the complete elimination of malaria in the target area. For this work, she was awarded an Outstanding Technologist Award from the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology under Patronage of H.M. the King of Thailand, in 2016.

2. Conducting research on artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum infection. In responding to the inquiry “What are the prevalence and distribution of genetic markers of resistance to Artemisinin and partner drugs?” the team led by Prof. Imwong found that P. falciparum infection has spread to the Thai-Myanmar border but has not yet reached India. This research was published in Lancet Infectious Diseases in 2015, with an impact factor of 22.443, as well as the Thailand Frontier Researcher Award and Thailand Hot Researcher Award from Thompson Reuters, in 2016.

3. Conducting research on artemisinin resistance in malaria contagion. The research led to the first finding in the epidemiology field of molecular biology that artemisinin resistance in malaria contagion had its origin in an area of Western Cambodia, before spreading throughout Southeast Thailand and southern Laos. Coupled with piperaquine resistance, the contagion posed a significant threat to malaria containment and elimination in the Mekong Delta. The finding has been proven key to several national policies on malaria containment and elimination. The research was published in Lancet Infectious Diseases in 2017 and scored an impact factor of 22.443, as well as earning the 2016 Mahidol Research Award from Mahidol University, in 2016.

4. Leading the research team in the field of biology on the causes of relapse in Plasmodium vivax infection. With the thesis question “Where does relapse come from? Is it from single mosquito or multiple inoculations at different time periods?” the team’s findings lead to the discovery that the strains of vivax causing relapse are 65% different from the strain found in the first infection. The research also won the L’Oreal Thailand Fellowship for Woman in Science Award from L'Oreal Thailand and the Thai National Commission for UNESCO, in 2010.

Ongoing Research Project(s)

Research Name Funding Source
• ชีวโมเลกุลของมาลาเรียเพื่อการกำจัดมาลาเรียตามนโยบายชาติ สำนักงานกองทุนสนับสนุนการวิจัย (สกว.)
• Molecular and in vitro surveillance of artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) partner drug efficacy in the Greater Mekong Subregion-MIVS-ACT Expertise France


2001 Ph.D.(Tropical Medicine), Faculty of Tropical Medicine Mahidol University, Thailand
1998 MSc. (Environmental Biology) Mahidol University, Thailand
1993 B.Sc., Nursing Royal Thai Army College, Thailand

Research of Expertise

  • Anti-malarial resistance
  • Molecular epidemiology and evolution
  • Deep amplicon sequencing

Diseases Covered/Research Area

  • G6PD deficiency
  • Malaria

Scopus ID