Geoffrey Pope 401
Geoffrey Pope Building, University of Exeter , Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD, UK
BSc. (Hons) Biological and Medicinal Chemistry
MSc. Biotechnology and Enterprise
Project Title: Glycoconjugate vaccine delivery using gold nanoparticles
Funding Body: Western Regional Center for Excellence, USA
Melioidosis is a severe infectious disease of humans caused by the environmental Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. Most commonly found in soil and standing water in the tropics, B. pseudomallei infection is classically characterised by pneumonia and multiple abscesses, with a mortality rate of up to 40%. The bacterium is resistant to a spectrum of antibiotics and there is currently no licensed vaccine. This has lead to its classification by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a category B bioterrorism agent.
The principle aim of my project is to work towards the development of a non-living vaccine which is able to protect against B. pseudomallei infection. This is being investigated by constructing a glycoconjugate vaccine, consisting of Burkholderia membrane proteins and polysaccharides, onto the surface of gold nanoparticles. Despite being potent antigens, polysaccharides alone elicit a T-independent B cell response. However, the inclusion of a protein carrier to the vaccine provides antigenic epitopes for recognition by CD4+ helper T cells to induce a more effective immune response against intracellular pathogens such as B. pseudomallei. The use of nanoparticles in the formulation is hoped to further promote T cell activation as well as serving as a scaffold for glycoconjugate coupling which is an otherwise inefficient process. In order to test the ability of these vaccines to protect against infection, material will be shipped to our collaborators at The University of Texas Medical Branch and tested in a BALB/c mouse model.
Gregory AE, Williamson ED, Prior JL, Butcher WA, Thompson IJ, Shaw AM, Titball RW. Conjugation of Y. pestis F1-antigen to gold nanoparticles improves immunogenicity. Vaccine 2012 (in press)
Controlling Infectious Diseases in the 21st Century Symposium – Galveston, TX Feb 2010
SGM conference – Edinburgh, UK Apr 2010
VI World Melioidosis Congress – Townsville, Australia Dec 2010
European Melioidosis Network meeting - Amsterdam Feb 2012
WRCE annual meeting – Dallas, TX Oct 2012