Dr Gemma Hancock, Dorrell Group

Dr Gemma Hancock

Post-doctoral research scientist working on Viral Immunology in Professor Lucy Dorrell’s group, University of Oxford

I obtained my DPhil in Clinical Medicine from the University of Oxford in 2015 and currently work as a post-doctoral research scientist in Professor Lucy Dorrell’s group. A critical next step in the development of preventive and therapeutic vaccines for HIV is to define the components of an immunogen that could induce CD8+ T cells with broad and potent antiviral capacity. Through collaboration with the NIAID-funded HIV Vaccine Trials Network and Duke University NC, my research has shown that targeting of selected vulnerable regions within the HIV proteome by CD8+ T cells is strongly associated with their capacity to inhibit HIV replication in vitro. Presently I am working on a new project to develop multi-genotype vaccines for therapy of human papilloma virus (HPV) infections that are responsible for cervical cancer (0.5 million cases per year worldwide) and other anogenital cancers. The second arm of this project is to define the HPV-specific T cell repertoire in longitudinal cohorts of women with prevalent, persistent, incident and cleared infections and to investigate the relationship between virus-specific T cell function and outcome of HPV infections, with the aim of guiding therapeutic vaccine development. Mexico has a high prevalence of HPV infection resulting in a high burden of anogenital and oropharygeal cancers. The development of a therapeutic HPV vaccine, which would be effective in Mexico, requires a better understanding of the region specific host immune response to infection. 

I attended the second NDM-Mexico workshop which took place in Playacar, where I gave a talk titled: “Training report from the 1st NDM-Mexico institutional links collaborative Workshop.”

Email: gemma.hancock@ndm.ox.ac.uk

Key publications

Hancock G,Brander C, McElrath MJ, McMichael A, Goonetilleke N, Tomaras GD, Frahm N, Dorrell L. “Identification of effective subdominant anti-HIV-1 CD8+ T cells within entire post-infection and post-vaccination immune responses.” Plos Pathogens, 2015, 1(2):e1004658.

2. Yang H, Yorke E, Hancock G, Clutton G, Sande N, Angus B, Smyth R, Mak J, Dorrell L. “Improved quantification of HIV-1-infected CD4+ T cells using an optimised method of intracellular HIV-1 gag p24 antigen detection.” J Immunol Methods. 2013 May 31;391.

3. Yang H, Wu H, Hancock G, Clutton G, Sande N, Xu X, Yan H, Huang X, Angus B, Kuldanek K, Fidler S, Denny TN, Birks J, McMichael A, Dorrell L. “Antiviral inhibitory capacity of CD8+ T cells predicts the rate of CD4+ T-cell decline in HIV-1 infection.” J Infect Dis. 2012 Aug 15.