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Prof Arturo Reyes Sandoval from The Jenner Institute and Dr Louis-Marie Yindom from the Target Discovery Institute have each been awarded a Newton Fund Researcher Links award worth £5,000 each to travel to Mexico for a month and establish research collaboration with Mexican scientists.

Newton fundArturo will participate in a study assessing the cellular immune responses against conserved sequences of the dengue virus in dengue infected patients. The study will involve the isolation of mononuclear cells from blood of dengue infected patients. Cells will then be exposed to the vaccine candidate antigen that is under development in Oxford, with the aim of assessing if the antigen is recognised universally by cells from all patients regardless of the dengue virus serotype and the genetic background of the volunteer.

Samples will also be analysed to determine the HLA type of the patient. The HLA can influence the responses against peptides and thus it will be important to determine if only certain types respond to the vaccine candidate. The main output of Louis-Marie’s visit will be capacity building in the area of HLA and immunogenetics typing. Louis-Marie will train a number of personnel in various institutions throughout Mexico (Mexico City, Michoacán and Puebla) in a number of Molecular techniques in order for them to be able to carry out HLA typing for current and future projects. Other outputs will include the generation of HLA data, the purchase and installation of equipment and the improvement of infrastructure at ITESM Campus Cd de México, BUAP in Puebla and UMSNH and LESPM in Michoacán.