The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


Research Projects

Project: Antibodies preventing HTLV-1c infection

Purcell Group

The HTLV-1c virus is mostly spread by cell-cell contact with infected T-lymphocytes at the sexual mucosae or following blood exposure. Nevertheless, neutralising antibodies have been reported to block virus transmission. We have engineered and expressed soluble HTLV-1c Env trimers and with these, have developed assays that measure the potency and breadth of HTLV-1c neutralising antibody in patient serum. This project will seek to produce monoclonal antibody NAbs against HTLV-1c Env trimers for development of a passive immunotherapy strategy to prevent HTLV transmission. We will also examine the potential of HTLV-1c Env trimers as a candidate preventive vaccine in mice vaccinated with them.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Professor Damian Purcell

Project Co-supervisor

Samantha Grimley

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

Purcell Group

5 vacancies

Viral Infectious Diseases
Host Pathogens Interactions
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Global Health
Indigenous Health
Translational and Clinical Research

Professor Damian Purcell’s group investigates the HIV-1 and HTLV-1 human retroviruses that cause AIDS, leukaemia and inflammatory pathogenesis respectively. We study their genetic structure and gene expression with a focus on defining the mechanisms that control viral persistence and pathogenesis. We examine the molecular interplay of viral and host factors during viral infection and the innate and adaptive immune responses to viral infection. We use these molecular insights to develop new antiviral and curative therapeutics, preventive prophylactic vaccines and passive antibody microbicides and therapeutics. Some of these patented discoveries have been commercialised and we are assisting with clinical trials.

Purcell Group Current Projects