Vaccine Formulation and Adjuvants
We study the immune mechanisms of action of vaccines and vaccine adjuvants, taking an integrated approach in combining murine models and ex vivo human lymphoid tissue. We are also working on developing single-dose vaccine formulations. Here the aim is to deliver prime-bost vaccination with a single administration, where the booster vaccine is encapsulated for a delayed burst-release in vivo.
The focus of our group are studies of immune mechanisms underlying vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy, with a specific emphasis on vaccine adjuvants. Adjuvants include a diverse range of compounds that have the ability to potentiate vaccine efficacy.
We are exploring the mechanism of action of adjuvanted vaccines using different vaccine platforms and including novel adjuvants developed by the Vaccine Formulation Institute (VFI) in Geneva. In late 2019 we initiated the VFI-Oxford Adjuvant Programme of research with three primary goals: i) understand the type, magnitude and kinetics of responses induced by different clinically-compatible adjuvants, ii) characterise the adjuvant immunogenicity profiles with different clinically relevant antigens and iii) assess vaccine efficacy through challenge studies in pre-clinical models of disease. These questions are being addressed through spatio-temporal studies of the innate and adaptive immune responses to adjuvanted vaccines, using an established mouse model of malaria.
To complement the animal model studies, together with Prof. Mark Coles and Dr Calliope Dendrou, and with the support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, we are studying the initial events in adjuvant-induced inflammation in humans. Using ex vivo human secondary lymphatic tissue, in combination with single cell RNA sequencing and hyperplexed imaging, we aim to create a high-resolution transcriptomic and proteomic map of the early innate immune responses to vaccine adjuvants.
Our third programme of research is on single-dose vaccines. In collaboration with the Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBME), we are developing new microfluidics-based vaccine encapsulation technologies for controlled vaccine release. The aim is to achieve single-dose immunisation that could replace the standard prime-boost approach: the booster vaccine is encapsulated into microcapsules and delivered together with the prime, for a delayed burst release within the body.