DPhil student at the Jenner Institute, NDM: Molecular adjuvants for global infectious diseases, malaria and MERS coronavirus
My PhD research is focused on the improvement of the immunogenicity of viral-vectored vaccines using recently discovered molecular adjuvants. Viral-vectored vaccines represent an ideal platform for vaccine development due to their high levels of antigen-specific antibody and T-cell responses. Nevertheless, these immunological responses might not be sufficient to provide protection. As a PhD student I investigate how recently discovered adjuvants (such as spermidine and 2’3’-cGAMP) can be used to tackle this issue in a pre-clinical setting. The research is focused on two major global infectious diseases, malaria and MERS coronavirus. These diseases combined have caused millions of death worldwide, especially in the Sub-Saharian Africa and the Middle East.
The other part of my research is focused on the development of in-vitro techniques for measuring and characterising neutralising antibodies using HIV-based pseudotypes. These in-vitro assays have the potential of facilitating the study and evaluation of the humoral response of vaccines and infected subjects.
My supervisors are Prof Adrian Hill, Prof Sarah Gilbert and Dr Alex Spencer, and my research is being funded by the CONACYT (Mexico) and the Jenner Institute.
I completed my undergraduate studies in Biotechnology engineering from the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Campus Monterrey, Mexico. After working as a teaching assistant, I moved to Saudi Arabia to pursue a Master’s degree in Bioscience at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). My research, under the supervision of Prof Arnab Pain and Dr Moataz Mohamed, was the first high-throughput study of enteric viruses from the largest annual mass gathering in the world, the Hajj. This and another ground-breaking study concerning the evolution of apicomplexan parasites from marine algae were published in high impact journals. In that time, I also obtained the NDM Summer Internship Award that allowed me to get involved in the application of virus-like particles as vaccination agents for malaria in the laboratory of Prof Arturo Reyes-Sandoval. Currently, I am studying a DPhil in Clinical Medicine at the Jenner Institute.
Alharbi, N. K., Padron-Regalado, E., Thompson, C. P., Kupke, A., Wells, D., Sloan, M. A., … Gilbert, S. C. (2017). ChAdOx1 and MVA based vaccine candidates against MERS-CoV elicit neutralising antibodies and cellular immune responses in mice. Vaccine, 35(30), 3780–3788. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.05.032
Abd El Ghany, M., Alsomali, M., Almasri, M., Padron Regalado, E., Naeem, R., Tukestani, A. H., … Memish, Z. A. (2017). Enteric infections circulating during Hajj seasons, 2011–2013. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 23(10). https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2310.161642
Woo, Y. H., Ansari, H., Otto, T. D., Klinger, C. M., Kolisko, M., Michalek, J., ...Padron-Regalado, E., … Pain, A. (2015). Chromerid genomes reveal the evolutionary path from photosynthetic algae to obligate intracellular parasites. eLife, 4, e06974. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.06974