School of Life Sciences
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Barnabas King

Post-doctoral research fellow, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

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Biography

I recently moved to the School of Life Sciences to work in the laboratory of Prof Jonathan Ball and Dr Alex Tarr to build on work studying antibody neutralisation of hepatitis C virus derived from patients. This work aims to provide more accurate and relevant tools for the development and evaluation of new vaccines and the screening of antibodies and molecules which inhibit virus entry to cells.

Prior to this I spent two and a half years at the Nottingham University Vet School as a research fellow with Dr Janet Daly where we were attempting to improve the safety, throughput and cost of diagnostic procedures for West Nile virus (WNV), Schmallenberg virus (SBV) and equine Influenza virus (EIV).

My career in research began in the laboratory of Prof Geoff Toms at Newcastle University as a research assistant developing a direct immunofluorescence antibody pool for the hospital diagnosis of human metapneumovirus (HMPV). Following that I completed a PhD at the University of Leeds characterising the membrane topology and intra-membrane protein interactions of non-structural protein 2 (NS2) of hepatitis C virus (HCV). I have been interested by viruses since I first became aware of them at school. Understanding how something so small and relatively simple is able to evade integrated immune systems, readily infect specific cell types and manipulate the complex and tightly regulated cellular machinery to their own ends becomes more astonishing (and bewildering) the more we discover.

Recent Publications

Past Research

My previous position was in the laboratory of Dr. Janet Daly as a post-doctoral research fellow. We sort to improve the safety, throughput and cost of diagnostic procedures for West Nile virus (WNV), Schmallenberg virus (SBV) and equine Influenza virus (EIV). The primary method we employed was virus pseudotyping by presenting the virus surface glycoproteins on the surface of a retroviral capsid (e.g. a Lentivirus or Gammaretrovirus) which encode a readily detectable 'reporter' protein as a marker for infection. When these pseudotyped viruses (PVs) are mixed with sera from animals; if the animal has previously been infected then it will have antibodies that bind and 'neutralise' the PVs. Neutralised PVs are then unable to infect test cells and so do not produce any of the reporter protein. Sera from animals that have not been infected with the virus will not be able to neutralise the PVs which will thus be able to infect the test cells and produce the reporter protein. This technique can be used to monitor the spread of a disease for surveillance or clinical diagnosis. Furthermore, effective vaccines rely upon eliciting a 'neutralising antibody' response in the vaccinee which can be confirmed using the PV system.

Prior to that, I worked in the laboratory of Prof. Geoff Toms at Newcastle University as a research assistant developing a direct immunofluorescence antibody pool for the hospital diagnosis of human metapneumovirus (HMPV). Following that I completed a PhD at the University of Leeds characterising the membrane topology and intra-membrane protein interactions of non-structural protein 2 (NS2) of hepatitis C virus (HCV). The HCV group, headed by Prof. Mark Harris, looked at many aspects of HCV replication, molecular biology and treatment.

School of Life Sciences

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham NG7 2UH

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