Constantinos Kurt Wibmer

Constantinos Kurt

Senior Medical Scientist
Wits Health Consortium | National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg, South Africa
c.k.wibmer [at]

Dr. Constantinos Kurt Wibmer is a South African virologist and structural biologist, with over a decade of experience in the fields of HIV-1 virology and HIV-1 vaccine design. He received his PhD in 2016 from the University of the Witwatersrand under the supervision of Prof Lynn Morris and Prof Penny Moore at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (National Health Laboratory Services) in Johannesburg, South Africa. As part of his graduate studies Kurt isolated neutralizing monoclonal antibodies from HIV-1 infected individuals and described the complex pathways exploited by the contemporaneous infectecting virus to escape these immune responses. His work has provided fundamental insights into the development of broadly neutralizing antibodies during infection. 

Kurt also received training in protein x-ray crystallography from Dr Peter Kwong and Dr Jason Gorman at the Vaccine Research Center (National Institutes of Health) in Bethesda, USA, and did his postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Prof Ian Wilson at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, USA. He has since solved dozens of unique protein structures, characterizing at atomic resolution the interactions between antibodies and their antigens. Ultimately, Kurt is passionate about using the skills he has gained abroad to tackle some of the unique disease challenges relevant to LMICs, and hopes to contribute towards the growth of structural biology and rational protein design technologies in South Africa. 

Research interests

Structural vaccinology and Protein engineering - using monoclonal antibody isolation and structural biology toolkits to understand how antibodies interact with their antigens and how this information can be exploited for rationally guided protein design of better therapeutics or vaccines. 

Projects you're working on

Isolation and characterization of antigen specific monoclonal antibodies from horses. 

Rational, structure-guided design of next-generation antivenom therapeutics. 

Structural biology research support for SARS-CoV-2. 

Immunology – B-cells Molecular biology Protein biology Structural biology Virology
Host species
Horses Wildlife Zoonoses
Stage of vaccine development
Antigen discovery and immunogen design