November 17, 2010

Department of Microbiology and Immunology Research in Progress Seminar Series, Thursday, Nov. 18, 9:30 a.m.

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Research in Progress Seminar Series

Jordan Willis, Graduate Student
From the Laboratories of James Crowe Jr., M.D., and Jens Meiler, M.D.

“Structural Basis for Development of Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies to HIV and Influenza”

The effectiveness of vaccine strategies for viruses with a high level of antigenic diversity, such HIV and influenza, is limited by the high mutability and genetic drift of the major protective proteins HIV gp160 and influenza hemagglutinin. We are using a combination of computational, molecular biology, and structural biology techniques to define the structural basis for development of broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV and influenza.

Using the protein structure modeling software Rosetta, predictions of the effect of mutations at the antigen-antibody interface provides insight into a rational basis for antibody and vaccine design. Computational experiments suggest how epitopes mutate in order to evade antibody neutralization, define epitopes on the viral surface that are more broadly conserved as a function of protein fitness, and may predict modifications of antibodies that allow the antibodies to neutralize a breadth of diverse virus strains.

Thursday, Nov. 18
9:30 a.m.