Dr Nick Scott and his team use maths to outsmart deadly infectious diseases and save vulnerable lives.
There is extensive interest in inducing antibody as the basis for effective HIV vaccines.
Considerable effort has been made in studying how such antibodies target the different protein and carbohydrate epitopes in the virus envelope. However, little is known about how these antibodies activate the body’s immune cells to kill or ingest an antibody-coated virus or virus-infected cells.
Our unique program evaluates a range of neutralising anti-HIV antibodies for the capacity to induce Fc Receptor functions, such as killing a virus-infected cell, phagocytosis of an antibody-coated virus, and the activation of local inflammation.
Our research indicates that optimal protection against virus is likely to be achieved by optimising the target epitope on the virus and optimising the Fc portion of the IgG subclass. This has implications for both the development of effective vaccines and the engineering of ideal anti-HIV antibodies for passive protection during pregnancy and in newborns, as well as in other high risk situations.
The nature of antibody FcR function in these studies also has implications for viral vaccines generally, including new vaccines for emerging infectious diseases.
For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:
Burnet Principal for Research Strategy; Head, Inflammation, Cancer and Infection