Amyn Murji

Project scheduled to begin July 1, 2018

Development of novel technologies for HIV-1 vaccine design

Abstract

HIV-1 continues to impose a global health burden. Candidate vaccines using HIV-derived antigens have not proven effective to date, and efforts toward protection against new infections remain a high priority in HIV-1 research. In recent years, strategies that target the elicitation of broadly neutralizing antibodies that are capable of neutralizing a large fraction of circulating HIV-1 variants have emerged as a potential avenue to a prophylactic HIV-1 vaccine. The sole target of these neutralizing antibodies is the envelope protein (Env) of HIV-1. However, due to the extensive global diversity of HIV-1, Env-based vaccine candidates so far have only led to the elicitation of antibodies with limited neutralization breadth. To address this challenge, we propose to develop technologies for the presentation of diverse Envs to the immune system. To allow for efficient and accurate evaluation of antibody responses to the designed immunogens, we are developing a binding fingerprinting technology, which applies computational algorithms for predicting the epitope specificities of antibody responses to infection and to vaccination. These novel technologies will be generalizable to vaccine design for other viruses that exhibit high levels of sequence diversity.

Mentors

Primary: Ivelin Georgiev

Secondary: Jim Crowe

Type of Trainee

Graduate Student