I am a Principal Investigator at The Jenner Institute, where I am currently leading a group working on an ambitious research program to pioneer vaccines for 4 neglected and emerging infectious diseases: Dengue, P. vivax malaria, Chikingunya and Chagas disease. My vision is to translate rapidly these vaccine developments to humans by assessing their performance in clinical trials and to take all necessary steps to promote licensing of these vaccines.
In the last 14 years, I have developed major vaccine platforms and strategies, such as the chimpanzee adenoviral vectors for which I co-authored the first publication describing their use as a vaccine, optimised the prime-boost strategies to maximise protecting efficacy of viral-vectored vaccines and reach a deep understanding of novel VLP platforms to use their strengths and minimise their weaknesses as immunisation tools. The chimpanzee adenoviruses are nowadays a leading strategy for malaria and have been tested recently as two Ebola vaccines within the University of Oxford.
Very recently, I have focused my interest in the ability of pathogens to modify their structure to evade immune responses and continue their survival at the expense of human beings. A major flaw of various vaccines is their inability to tackle such variability in pathogens like Dengue and Influenza viruses. With this in mind, my group has developed a novel algorithm to assess pathogen variability and have almost completed the development of a software package to support scientist in the analysis and understanding of variability patterns and contribute to the development of vaccines to tackle highly conserved structures that pathogens cannot change.
Recognising that most of the diseases I am working with are present in Latin America, I have actively looked for mechanisms to collaborate with scientists from two of the major economies from this region. To this end, I have been centrally involved in the development of a collaborative centre in Mexico, which will in turn foster collaborative work between Mexican and Oxford scientists. The NDM has signed MoUs with leading Mexican Universities and research centres such as Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Universidad Michoacana San Nicolás de Hidalgo and Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI and we are establishing a research program in vaccine development against Dengue and Chikungunya.
My vision is to contribute to the creation of a space to support a collaborative research between the University of Oxford and leading universities and hospitals in Mexico, while permitting gaining access to grants that are directed to support such collaborative research environment.