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We study the immune mechanisms of vaccines and vaccine adjuvants, taking an integrated approach that combines mouse studies, human lymph node ex vivo model system, in vitro testing and clinical sampling. In addition, we are developing single-dose vaccine formulations with the aim of delivering prime-bost vaccination with a single administration, where the booster vaccine is encapsulated into a polymer shell for a delayed burst-release in vivo.

Our research is focused on understanding how the context and the kinetics of vaccine antigen delivery dictate the innate and adaptive immune responses to vaccination. We study vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy across a range of immunisation platforms, including viral vectors, inactivated viruses, mRNA vaccines, and adjuvanted proteins and virus like particles. Of particular interest is to understand how specific innate pathways triggered by vaccine adjuvants drive the ensuing adaptive response. Through a collaborative research programme, we study a portfolio of adjuvants with modular composition, developed for open access clinical use by the Vaccine Formulation Institute (VFI) in Geneva. The research questions are addressed through spatio-temporal studies of innate and adaptive immune responses, from the systemic to single cell level, using established mouse models of infection along with in vitro cellular approaches.

To complement studies in animal models, we are investigating the initial early events in adjuvant-induced inflammation in humans. Using ex vivo human lymph nodes, in combination with single cell RNA sequencing and hyperplexed imaging, we are creating a high-resolution transcriptomic and proteomic map of the early innate immune responses to vaccine adjuvants. This work synergises with a clinical study detailing the lymph node and systemic immune response to vaccines in individuals of different ethnicities, carried out in partnership with the Imperial College London as part of the LEGACY Network.

An additional programme of research are single-dose vaccines. In collaboration with the Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBME) at Oxford, we are developing new microfluidics-based vaccine encapsulation technologies for controlled vaccine release. One of the goals is to deliver prime-boost immunisation with a single administration, where the booster vaccine is encapsulated into polymer microcapsules and delivered together with the prime for a delayed burst release within the body.

Our team

Selected publications