malaria remains a major infectious disease that affects millions of people. once infected with plasmodium parasites, a host can develop a broad range of clinical presentations, which result from complex interactions between factors derived from the host, the parasite and the environment. intense research has focused on the identification of reliable predictors for exposure, susceptibility to infection and the development of severe complications during malaria. although most promising markers are based on the current understanding of malaria immunopathogenesis, some are also focused more broadly on mechanisms of tissue damage and inflammation. taken together, these markers can help optimise therapeutic strategies and reduce disease burden. here, we review the recent advances in the identification of malarial biomarkers, focusing on those related to parasite exposure and disease susceptibility. we also discuss priorities for research in biomarkers for severe malaria.