I have temporarily replaced my biography with a request for research help.
We are currently recruiting healthy volunteers who have fully recovered from a laboratory confirmed diagnosis of COVID19 (novel coronavirus) infection to donate a small sample of blood for ongoing antibody studies. If you would like to take part in this study then please email me (email@example.com) ensuring that the subject line contains the following phrase "COVID Antibody Study".
Our interests focus on antibody-based vaccine and/or therapeutic monoclonal antibody discovery for emerging virus infections such as Ebola, Lassa Fever, Nipah, SARS-related coronaviruses to name a few. Antibody discovery platforms being utilised include direct single cell cloning of human and/or bovine antibody repertoires. As part of this work, we also investigate the role of virus evolution in antibody escape and also its influence on cell and host tropism. Finally, we are applying high throughput DNA sequencing (metagenomics) for virus discovery, then using surrogate cell infection assays (especially lentivirus and retrovirus-based pseudovirus assays) to determine the host-range, and therefore zoonotic and epizootic potential (ie. species-jumps) of newly discovered viruses. IN collaboration with colleagues in the School fo Veterinary Medicine and Science, we apply this knowledge to animal viruses, such as Bluetongue virus.
We are particularly interested in understanding how genetic variability influences envelope glycoprotein structure and function, and defining the host antibody response to these proteins. Ultimately… read more
URBANOWICZ RA, MCCLURE CP, SAKUNTABHAI A, SALL AA, KOBINGER G, MÜLLER MA, HOLMES EC, REY FA, SIMON-LORIERE E and BALL JK, 2016. Human Adaptation of Ebola Virus during the West African Outbreak. Cell. 167(4), 1079-1087.e5 LACEK K, URBANOWICZ RA, TROISE F, DE LORENZO C, SEVERINO V, DI MARO A, TARR AW, FERRARA F, PLOSS A, TEMPERTON N, BALL JK, NICOSIA A, CORTESE R and PESSI A, 2014. Dramatic Potentiation of the Antiviral Activity of HIV Antibodies by Cholesterol Conjugation. The Journal of biological chemistry. 289(50), 35015-28 URBANOWICZ, R. A., MCCLURE, C. P., BROWN, R. J., TSOLERIDIS, T., PERSSON, M. A., KREY, T., IRVING, W. L., BALL, J. K. and TARR, A. W., 2016. A Diverse Panel of Hepatitis C Virus Glycoproteins for Use in Vaccine Research Reveals Extremes of Monoclonal Antibody Neutralization Resistance: J Virol J Virol. 90(7), 3288-301
MCCLURE, C. P., URBANOWICZ, R. A., KING, B. J., CANO-CRESPO, S., TARR, A. W. and BALL, J. K., 2016. Flexible and rapid construction of viral chimeras applied to Hepatitis C Virus: J Gen Virol J Gen Virol.
We are particularly interested in understanding how genetic variability influences envelope glycoprotein structure and function, and defining the host antibody response to these proteins. Ultimately we aim to use this knowledge to design new antibody-based vaccines and treatments. Current research is focussed on the emerging viruses SARS-CoV-2 (the cause of COVID19), Lassa Fever, Nipah and Rabies, as well as blood borne viruses like HCV.
Following a British Science Association Media Fellowship, I have become a science communicator convert and continue to be involved with broadcast media and write scientific articles for outlets such as BBC News.
Clinical trials of antibody-based vaccines and treatments.