Matt on NIH Panel
Matt R will serve again on an ad hoc basis to help the major US funding agency (NIH) to select grants for funding support. This reflects well on the contribution of Matt and all the lab that we have been asked to serve as an international member on an NIH Study Section panel.
Matt on Panel to discuss vaccine hesitancy
Matt R will give a presentation on vaccination and then sit on a Q&A panel to discuss vaccine denial and vaccine hesitancy. The session is being hosted by the London Metropolitan University and is probably the topic of importance now that vaccines are on the horizon!
New lab members
Welcome to the lab, Yivon and James. UG students who have come to work on data analysis projects concerning miRNA expression and antibody responses in transplant patients, respectively.
Ariane on the TV
Ariane was interviewed by her home country, Brazil, about the Sputnik V vaccine recently released by Russia. Congrats to Ariane and recognition of the esteem her fledgling career in vaccinology holds.
Kudos to Steph
As the title suggests this is just to acknowledge the contribution Steph, and all our clinical staff (and all the support they get from non-clinical staff in the hospital) who have worked tirelessly in our hospitals. Our thanks are unlimited and hopefully the Government (and tax payers) realise many of the lower paid workers in the NHS deserve something more rewarding than a clap - a pay rise!
Congratulations to Calum and Ariane who have just had a new review published in Vaccine concerning the concept of NK cell memory and implications for HCMV vaccination. A really great read led by those two and our collaborator Viki Male (Imperial College).
Matt R seconded onto NIHR Covid College of Experts
We report Matt R has been approached to serve on a Covid College of Experts. The role will provide rapid review and feedback for a rolling NIHR call concerning strategies to control SARS-CoV-2. Additional responsibilities will be to sit on grant panels when requested.
Great news - the UCL Coronavirus Fund will support our attempts to establish the pseudovirus system and our work with vaccine developers. Importantly, our work will also support partners in the NHS with whom UCL has strong links. This is possible due to fantastic philanthropy of UCL alumni and supporters. Thanks to all those who have donated to UCL at this time.
Time away from the lab has provided time to write up some data. Congratulations to new PhD student Becky who has just had her first paper accepted in the Journal of General Virology. It details an analysis of our model system of HCMV reactivation and specifically suggests that in specific cell types the MIEP is still important for HCMV reactivation.
Alongside this congrats to Mark Wills and colleagues at Cambridge who have published a really important piece of work that provides the first function based assay of T cell control against HCMV correlated with ability to control viraemia in transplant patients. Prior studies have utilised IFNy responses as a surrogate. This work argues it has to be a more nuanced approach. The work was published in Frontiers.
Lab open for business
Meg, Matt and Ariane have been working hard with our collaborator Ed Wright (U. Sussex) to establish the pseudotype virus system at the Royal Free Hospital to allow us to screen for antibody responses in potential vaccine recipients.
Claire seconded to HSL
Kudos to Claire in our group who has been seconded to Health Services Laboratories to provide critical support for the development of strategies to screen for SARS-CoV-2 infections. HSL serves all the North London Hospital Trusts and thus will be central in the ongoing months as we manage through this pandemic.
Hot on his presentation last October at a Biochemical Society meeting regarding the regulation of transcription Matt R has now written a review summarising our work on HCMV reactivation and src kinase signalling in the context of the current state of the art of the field. Kudos to the editor for picking up the Tina Turner reference in the title!
We welcome two MSc students Rebecca Matthews & Kavita Patel to our online lab. Their work will be focused on HCMV vaccination and viral regulation of cellular miRNAs during latency.
Lab Closure - Covid-19
As SARS-Cov-2 infections continue to rise around the world UCL has closed its labs for operation. Who knows how long this will last but the rate the threat escalated is a real world example of the danger of infectious diseases. Stay safe!
Congratulations to our co-authors led by Cody Nelson from Sallie Permar's lab on the publication of a new review discussing immune correlates of protection against HCMV and implications for vaccine development. This is part of special collection organised by the NIH and Journal of Infectious Diseases.
New Decade - New Paper
Congratulations to Matt M, Cherilyn and Nathaly on the acceptance of our latest offering to the CMV world. This details the anti-viral activity a compound that blocks viral entry causing the virus to re-think it's route into the cell in response. The work will appear in the Journal of Virology later this month. Well done to all involved including our Chemistry (Sally Oxenford & Richard Angell) and genomics (Dan Depledge) expert collaborators.