New $5.5m Livestock Antibody Hub to launch at Pirbright
Scientists at the Pirbright Institute in the UK have been awarded $5.5 million by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to launch a new Livestock Antibody Hub. The Hub’s work will aim to improve animal and human health globally and help drive vaccine design and development.
Pirbright’s research is focused on viral diseases in animals, and the Hub will use the institute’s expertise and facilities to improve antibody discovery, manipulation and testing in livestock. The project will see six research groups at the institute working together to study antibody responses at high resolution in pigs, poultry and cattle.
“New tools have given us the opportunity to utilise these detailed antibody responses to make the next generation of vaccines and therapies” said Pirbright’s Professor John Hammond, who will lead the project, working alongside Professor Venugopal Nair, Dr Elma Tchilian, Dr Erica Bickerton, Prof Munir Iqbal and Dr Simon Graham.
The Hub will help the wider research community by providing methods, access to animal models and expertise to drive antibody research. The work will form part of the ‘One Health’ agenda – using research outcomes in livestock to inform and support work on human diseases. “[Our findings] will improve animal health and ultimately human health, as well as ensuring the security of our food supply”, Professor Hammond said.
Dr Doug Brown, chief executive of the British Society for Immunology, welcomed the announcement. “This is the single biggest investment in the immunology of livestock in the UK from an international funder,” he said.
Work on the Livestock Antibody Hub project
The Pirbright Institute is recruiting three postdoctoral scientists and two research technicians to work on the Livestock Antibody Hub project. Click on the links to find out more about each position and for information about how to apply. The closing date for applications for all five posts is Tuesday 10 December 2019.
Postdoctoral research scientist in the mucosal immunology group – identifying alternative mechanisms of protection beyond virus neutralization, characterising receptor gene content and function, and developing assays to examine the function of individual antibodies for several species.
Postdoctoral research scientist in the influenza viruses group – using molecular virology, immunology, vaccinology, structural biology and in vivo approaches to dissect protective antibody responses against avian influenza virus (AIV) and develop passive immunization approaches for poultry against AIV.
Postdoctoral research scientist in the coronavirus and viral oncogenesis groups – using molecular virology, reverse genetics and in vivo techniques to dissect protective antibody responses against Newcastle disease virus and infectious bronchitis virus.
Research technician working on B-cell isolation by flow cytometry and sample preparation for next-generation sequencing.
Research technician working on the laboratory activities of the immunological toolbox and expression of recombinant antibodies for specific Hub projects.
Two PhD students and a research fellow will also be recruited at a later date to complete the Hub's team.