Joel Meyer

Graduate Research Prize Winners Autumn 2014

Joel Meyer

After completing medical school at Cambridge then Oxford, I pursued training in intensive care medicine. It was only several years into my clinical training that I became interested in the possibilities of research. I found myself moving back to the University of Oxford to take up what was initially a six-month clinical research fellow appointment at the NDM Jenner institute with Professor Helen McShane’s tuberculosis group.

Initially I planned, conducted and evaluated the clinical trials being conducted within the TB vaccine programme, as well as the hepatitis C vaccine programme to a lesser extent. It was valuable for me to get exposure to a breadth of clinical research activity at the outset. With fantastic support from my supervisor Prof McShane and the wider team, I decided to develop my own TB vaccine project and enrol for a DM degree. The main objective of my thesis was to investigate novel routes of delivery for future TB vaccines. 

Using the world’s leading candidate TB vaccine in development (known as MVA85A) as a model investigational vaccine, I conducted head-to-head clinical trials of the intramuscular, intradermal and inhaled aerosol routes. This included the first ever human trial of an aerosolised viral vector vaccine. I established the safety of aerosol delivery, and evaluated the magnitude and quality of vaccine-induced cellular immune responses in peripheral blood and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in human volunteers. The findings, recently published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, are relevant not only for the TB vaccine field but potentially could also impact on other viral vector vaccine programmes including for malaria, HIV and influenza. As well as the successful research outcomes from the project, perhaps the most rewarding achievement was the enduring collaboration which I established between the Jenner and the Oxford Centre for Respiratory Medicine; further aerosol vaccine work is under way.

I would strongly recommend a research fellowship at the NDM – it is a privilege to work among such motivated colleagues. Following the award of my DM, I am now in the final stage of my intensive care training, and planning the next stage of my career combining translational research and clinical practice.

Publications

*Satti I, *Meyer J, Harris SA, Manjaly-Thomas Z-R, Griffiths K, Antrobus R, Rowland R, Lopez R, Smith M, Sheehan S, Bettinson H, McShane H. Safety and immunogenicity of a candidate TB vaccine, MVA85A, delivered by aerosol in BCG-vaccinated healthy adults. Lancet Infect Dis. 2014 Oct;14(10):939-46.*joint first authorship 

*Harris SA, *Meyer J, Satti I, Marsay L, Poulton ID, Tanner R, Minassian AM, Fletcher HA, McShane H. Evaluation of a human BCG challenge model to assess antimycobacterial immunity induced by BCG and a candidate tuberculosis vaccine, MVA85A, alone and in combination. J Infect Dis. 2014 Apr;209(8):1259-68.  *joint first authorship

Matsumiya M, Stylianou E, Griffiths K, Lang Z, Meyer J, Harris SA, Rowland R, Minassian AM, Pathan AA, Fletcher H, McShane H. Roles for Treg expansion and HMGB1 signaling through the TLR1-2-6 axis in determining the magnitude of the antigen-specific immune response to MVA85A. PLoS One. 2013 Jul 3;8(7):e67922.

Fletcher HA, Tanner R, Wallis RS, Meyer J, Manjaly ZR, Harris S, Satti I, Silver RF, Hoft D, Kampmann B, Walker KB, Dockrell HM, Fruth U, Barker L, Brennan MJ, McShane H. Inhibition of mycobacterial growth in vitro following primary but not secondary vaccination with BCG. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2013 Aug 28.