2008-2009 MSc Biotechnology and Enterprise, University of Exeter
2005-2008 BSc Biological and Medicinal Chemistry, University of Exeter
Development of a vaccine against Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei using gold nanoparticles
Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei are intracellular bacterial pathogens which cause the diseases melioidosis and glanders respectively. Due to the severity of disease these pathogens can cause as well as their potential use in bioterrorism there is an urgent need to develop better prophylactic countermeasures through the use of vaccines and immune stimulants for both of these diseases.
The principle aim of my project is to work towards the development of a non-living vaccine which is able to protect against both B. pseudomallei and B. mallei infection. This is being investigated by conjugating Burkholderia membrane proteins and polysaccharides onto the surface of gold nanoparticles in an attempt to induce a more effective immune response. It is believed that by using nanoparticles to facilitate the delivery of immunogens, the material will be able to enter host cells via non-endocytic pathways resulting in presentation by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) II. This then leads to T-dependent B cell activation which is believed to be important for controlling infections caused by intracellular pathogens such as B. pseudomallei. In order to test the efficacy of these conjugates, material will be shipped to our collaborators at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) for use in a vaccine trial using BALB/c mice.
This project is funded by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and National Institute of Health (NIH). Supported by the Western Regional Center of Excellence (WRCE) for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Disease Research.