On the science of the project:
To make quantitative predictions of malaria transmission, it is very important to know how long an infection lasts in an infected human. Because the longer it lasts, the more mosquitoes can get infected, the more infected mosquitoes you have, the more humans are being infected etc, etc, etc..
It may at first seem very straightforward to measure this: you just look when somebody gets infected, and then you keep taking blood samples until that person is not infected anymore.
Unfortunately, you only have a chance of about 50% percent to detect an infection, given that it is there. So you already have a problem: you don't know when the infection started, and you don't know exactly when it ended.
In addition: In areas of high malaria transmission people are very often infected with up to ten or more infections simultaneously... so you never know if what you're seeing is still the same infection or a new one..
Recently some work at our institute has used new dna-based methods (which allow distinction of different infections), together with a mathematical approach, to estimate the average duration of an untreated p. falciparum infection.
See more info: