The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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

EDUCATION

Research Projects

Project: Cow antibodies that potently neutralize HIV transmission

Purcell Group

Prophylactic HIV vaccines aim to elicit broad neutralising antibody (bNAb) at the sexual mucosa to block virus transmission. We were first to find and publish that vaccination of dairy cows with HIV Envgp140 trimer vaccines can elicit broad and potent bNAb responses in vast scale in the colostrum milk. This was patented for use as a passive antibody-microbicide prevention against HIV-transmission and has been scaled up and developed for clinical testing with a commercial partner. This project aims to isolate the bovine plasmablasts producing bNAbs for production of monoclonal antibodies that define the responses needed for an effective protective antibody response. 

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Professor Damian Purcell

Project Co-supervisor

Dr Behnaz Heydarchi

Project availability
PhD/MPhil
Master of Biomedical Science
Honours

Purcell Group

[email protected]

3 vacancies

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

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