Congratulations to Ilona, Ariane and Claire who feature on our most recent contribution to the CMV community. In our attempts to understand the protective basis for the gB vaccine for CMV we have identified that vaccinated seronegative individuals can mount a robust and rapid gB antibody response upon transplantation. we hypothesise that this may represent a prime (vaccine) boost (pathogen exposure on transplant) response. Intriguingly, the response had evidence of neutralising activity -something not detectable pre-transplant. More generally it again demonstrates the power of the transplant scenario as a powerful human challenge model for HCMV. The work has been published in Lancet's online open access journal EbioMedicine.
Becky Mason awarded PhD Bursary
Congratulations to Becky who was awarded a PhD Bursary from the Royal Free Charity. Obviously the interview went well and Becky will start in 2020. She will be continuing her work on the molecular mechanisms that control HCMV gene expression but will switch her focus to latency and reactivation. Well done, Becky!
Congratulations to Ariane who has recently published work from her PhD studies in Frontiers In Immunology which has demonstrated a role for CCL2 in the establishment of protective T cell responses orchestrated by DCs responding to VLPs. Well done, Ariane!
Nuffield Student Bursary
We welcome Ernest Abaya to the lab for the summer. Ernest is an A level student supported by a Nuffield Foundation Student Bursary that is aimed at giving the next generation of scientists opportunities to experience the research lab environment.
New knowledge and papers are our bread and butter as a lab. July sees two papers accepted. The first really was a UCL undergraduate student team effort with Liane, Stephanie, Lily & Madeleine all featuring on our report published in Journal of Biological Chemistry. The report identifies the 'second pathway' required for HCMV reactivation and why. Hot on the heels of this is the news Ariane has had her review accepted for a special collection in Vaccines. This is a focused review of the successes and challenges involved with producing a HCMV vaccine against glycoprotein B. Congrats everyone (including Megan!).
Love is in the Air!
Ilona gets married this month (for the second time! - same person but in a different country). It is somewhat strange to think of naive PhD students growing up. Did someone mention babies....?
IHW time again!
The lab went to Knoxville Tennessee for the IHW this year. Calum and Matt were representing the lab this year and we ran into the usual suspects!
Congrats to Matt who was grilled for 4.5 hours by Dr Joe Grove and Prof Gill Elliott but eventually was given the green light. The long defence was partly because of Matt's verbose answers so he has only himself to blame. But congrats, Matt!
We welcome Cherilyn (Qian) Lee to the lab. Cherilyn joins us for the summer to work with Matt on how HCMV evades anti-viral compound, DIDS.
Rebecca Mason joins us this month for her MSc project. Rebecca will be working on a potential role for histone acetyltransferase, p300, regulating HCMV lytic infection in a chromatin independent manner. Good luck with the experiments and welcome!
Microbiology Society meeting -Belfast
Matt, Matt and Calum went to Belfast to represent the lab at the annual Microbiology meeting. Both Matt and Calum gave excellent talks but Matt's was better as it was about HCMV. Next year, Calum!
Love is in the air!
Congratulations to Calum who got all important 'Yes' vote from his fiancee, Alice. A good job too as it was an expensive trip to undertake for a no!
Congratulations to Stephanie - hot on her PhD stipend award she has now had her review on BK virus accepted in the Reviews in Medical Virology. This covers clinical to basic science with a view to future questions the field should be addressing. Hopefully this is the start of a productive collaboration between UCL Renal Medicine, UCL Infection and Andrew Macdonald at Leeds.
Welcome to Ariane who joins us for a year in the first instance to apply her training in VLPs and innate immune responses to the study of HCMV entry and protective immune responses. Hopefully, this will lead to a productive year and beyond. Welcome, Ariane.
Congratulations to Ilona on another paper. Her work on original antigenic sin in the context of HCMV vaccination has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. We believe this work, whilst only a pilot study, reveals important implications for the vaccination of people already infected with HCMV. The work was supported by the Rosetrees and Stoneygate Trusts.
Congratulations to Dr Stephanie Chong who has been awarded a studentship by the Royal Free Charity to pursue her interest in BK virus and kidney transplantation. She will become part of the CMV group where we will be breaking new ground into small DNA viruses! Hopefully our colleague in Leeds, Andrew Macdonald, will be there to hold our hands through it all!
Ilona & Jess leaving!
We thought the day would never happen but Ilona has decided to leave to start life as a consultant in Munich! It is the end of an era for Matt as Ilona was the first member of the lab at UCL. We wish her good luck in her new job and good luck with the early starts!
Jess meanwhile has stayed closer to home and gone to carry out her second rotation for her MRC PhD. Thanks for your hard work, enjoy your other rotations and keep in touch. Maybe we will see you back at the IIT in the future?
Congratulations to our collaborator Glenn McConkey and colleagues. He has just had his paper on T. Gondii and the manipulation of the central nervous system accepted in Infection & Immunity. Our contribution was to show the same changes don't occur when HCMV infects the same cells of the nervous system.