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Dr Jennifer Hill

Institute: University of Oxford

Antibody-mediated innate effector responses in human challenge models

Antibodies targeting bacteria and viruses are an important immune defence against infection, and many vaccines generate protection through stimulating the production of specific antibodies. An antibody is divided into two parts; one that binds a specific pathogen, and another part that draws in immune cells or molecules that can destroy the pathogen.

An antibody
A therapeutic antibody given to neutralise HIV. 
Image: NIAID

For many diseases, we know that antibodies  are important for protection against infection, but the precise ways in which they do so is not fully understood. Gaining a better understanding of which antibody-mediated killing mechanism is important in the context of different infections would be highly valuable for developing new vaccines that stimulate a protective immune response.

Using a variety of lab techniques, we will examine the ability of antibodies generated following vaccination or pathogen exposure to generate different types of immune effector mechanism. We will combine these results with the outcomes of human challenge studies, to match which responses were associated with protection and giving us insight into the nature of the beneficial antibodies. Ultimately, this information will be used to assess new vaccines, providing more informative and disease-specific measures of the performance of a vaccine.

More about Dr Hill here.

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