Current projects in the lab
1) HIV envelope immunogenicity. Funded by the
MRC this project examines the
possibilities for improving the immunogenicity of the HIV envelope
protein for the purpose of generating more neutralising antibody.
There is already a literature that shows this is possible but in our
view many experiments combine too many new technologies at one time
(e.g. DNA vaccine AND novel Env configuration AND immune enhancer). Realistically these
will never be licensed in the near term as they need to clear too many regulatory
hurdles. Our work centres on making recombinant forms of Env similar
to those already trialled as vaccines but with modifications that may
result in better antibody induction. The work is collaborative with
Quentin_Sattentau's lab in Oxford. We are also investigating the
relationship between Env conformation and function in a long
standing collaboration with Emmanuel Fenouillet and Rym Barbouche at the
Insititut Jean Roche
in the Universite de la Mediterranee, Marseilles. Lead researchers
are HongYing Chen and Xiaodong Xu. Additional involvement by Louise
Wilson and Sylvia Rua.
2) European Microbicide Project. Aka EMPRO, a
European commission framework six consortium working to develop improved microbicides
specifically aimed at HIV. EMPRO has its own web site where you can
find out more about this worthy and interesting project. Louise Wilson and
Sylvia Rua are the researchers involved.
3) Influenza projects. Projects
recently funded by the MRC with the aim of impacting the
current H5N1 situation and those that will follow it. We have two
main aims - to investigate receptor usage by several different
haemagglutinin proteins and to develop faster more reliable
diagnostics. We also have an interest in the possibility of novel
vaccines. This work is joint with Wendy Barclay's group.
4) Prion antibodies. Defra and MRC funding
now ended previously allowed the isolation of 4 novel single chain
to the prion protein. Their novelty is that that they appear to
react with prion variants that existing monoclonals bind to only
poorly. Current Defra funded work is rebuilding these scFvs into full length
antibodies for a more complete investigation of their properties.
For recent projects
now closed click here