- Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry at Nottingham Trent University
- Wellcome Trust ISSF - Early Career Research Fellow at the Leicester Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology.
- BTP Research Fellow at Pembroke College, University of Oxford.
- Research Associate at the University of Oxford.
- Research Associate at Imperial College London.
- Research Associate at King's College London.
- PhD in protein crystallography at the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, University of Leeds.
- Degree in Industrial Biotechnology at the University of Padua (Italy).
Member of the CCP4 WG1 and WG2, Honorary Fellow at LISCB (University of Leicester), Visiting Lecturer (NTU), Editor Board Member of Scientific Reports and Frontiers in Microbiology
My group currently focuses on structure-based drug design and structure-guided vaccine development in the fields of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and of emerging viruses, with main focus on Chagas disease.
To achieve this, we use protein crystallography as the main research tool in combination with cryo-EM, 2D NMR, HDX-MS and complementary biophysical techniques (ITC, BLI, SPR, DSF, DSC, CD etc.). My group has access to the Diamond Light Source (DLS) MX beamlines, Research Complex at Harwell and other synchrotrons in France (Soleil) and Germany (Petra and DESY). I am also involved in methods development for in situ serial crystallography, to trap intermediates of enzymes from human pathogens in collaboration with the VMXi team at DLS.
We use several expression systems for recombinant protein production: Escherichia coli, Vibrio natrigens, HEK293F cells, sf9 cells, Leishmania tarantulae and more recently Tobacco plants.
I am module leader for the UG course on "Fundamental in Immunology" (BIO2010) which will start in October 2023 and will have particular focus on host-pathogen interactions and vaccines.
I am also module leader for the PG module "Research skills in Microbial biotehcnology" (BIOS4125).
My main research stream lies in the design and production of immunogens from human and animal pathogens, for the generation of monoclonal antibodies, which we test for diagnostic and therapeutic… read more
My main research stream lies in the design and production of immunogens from human and animal pathogens, for the generation of monoclonal antibodies, which we test for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. After this initial step, we proceed with the determination of antigen-antibody complexes, which are used to guide the design and development of vaccine prototypes via epitopes conjugation to engineered Virus-Like-Particles (VLPs), upon "a la carte" computational epitope crafting.
I was successful in this approach and designed, produced and characterized a heat stable variant of the leading protein candidate for a blood-stage malaria vaccine, called RH5, which lead to a patent with myself as co-inventor (PCT/GB2017/052608), when I was at the University of Oxford, which has been licensed to the Serum Institute of India in 2022, for human trials in children in Gambia and Burkina Faso (trial NCT05357560).
Current Lab members:
Sagar Batra (PhD student), Oliver Boakye (PhD student), Sam Skinner (PhD student), Sadia Purba (MSc student), Ahmad Jazuli (MSc student)
- Master student Nelson Chukwuemeka Igbokwe (NHS)
- Master student Hirak Naitik Tailor (PhD student at Center of Molecular Medicine Cologne, Germany)
- Master student Raizel Fernandes (NHS)
- Master student Agata Kowalska (R&D at Reckitt)
- Master student Maria Morra (Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cambridge)
- BSc student Camilla Huemert (MRes student, Imperial College London)