Developing assays to identify COVID infections and vaccines to prevent them 

Vaccine and diagnostics team

Gordan Dougan

We study host/pathogen interactions with a focus on vaccines and other therapeutic interventions. We also study the evolution of antibiotic resistance.

Our key diseases are typhoid and other invasive enteric infections. We use genomics alongside high throughput microbial phenotyping as tools to explore the mechanisms of infection. We exploit infection models, many involving human stem cells differentiated into immune cells or organoids.

We also work with collaborators within Cambridge University Hospitals and overseas to develop useful applications derived from our basic scientific studies.

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Stephen Baker

Stephen Baker is a Molecular Microbiologist and his research focusses on studying the mechanisms and epidemiological influences of antimicrobial resistant Gram-negative bacteria. His group used various genomic and laboratory techniques to understand how antimicrobial resistant bacterial emerge and spread and how best they can be combatted. He has published over 300 scientific articles and is a recognized name in global health with a portfolio of work ranging from typhoid fever and other enteric diseases to hospital acquired infections and zoonoses.

Yorgo Modis

Our innate immune responses to viral nucleic acids are vital defenses, but viral and cellular nucleic acids are can be difficult to distinguish. The goal of the Modis group’s research is to understand at the molecular level how cells recognize viral nucleic acids and respond with the necessary sensitivity and specificity. We integrate deep mechanistic insights from structural studies with functional validation in the cellular context.

Our work on the COVID-19 response focuses on developing SARS-CoV-2 Receptor-Binding Domain (a fragment of the Spike protein) as a vaccine and for use in antibody-based diagnostics.

Sarah Caddy

Dr Caddy is a Veterinary Surgeon and Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Career Development Fellow at the Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease (CITIID). Dr Caddy studies interactions between viruses and antibodies, with a focus on the biology of rotaviruses, influenza and now coronaviruses. Understanding how antibodies protect us from viral infection is essential for development of new and improved vaccines.

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Nick Brown

Cellular adhesion and communication are vital during the development of multicellular organisms. These processes use proteins on the surface of cells (receptors) which stick cells together (adhesion) and/or transmit signals from outside the cell to the interior, so that the cell can respond to its environment.

Our research is currently focused on how adhesion receptors are linked with the cytoskeleton to specify cell shape and movement within the developing animal. This linkage between the adhesion receptors and the major cytoskeletal filaments contains many components, giving it the ability to grow or shrink in response to numerous signals. For example, as the cytoskeleton becomes contractile and exerts stronger force on the adhesion sites, additional linker proteins are recruited in to strengthen adhesion.

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