Join our email list


Sign up here to be kept updated via email.

JOIN OUR EMAIL LIST
Gladys Njeri Macharia
Country Kenya
Job Title Research Officer
Date of Scholarship 20 June -18 August 2012
Host Institution The Neutralizing Antibody Centre at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, USA
Scholarship Title Defining the desired antibody response to HIV



I spent two months at the IAVI's neutralizing antibody center learning assays related to characterization of antibody function.

In the initial phase, I learnt how to evaluate sera from chronic HIV-1 patients for broad neutralization of HIV-1. As part of the neutralization assay I also learnt how to prepare HIV-1 mutant pseudoviruses by site directed mutagenesis of the HIV-1 envelope, and thereafter using the mutated envelop to transfect a permissive cell line that would in turn generate the desired HIV-1 mutants. Other antibody characterization assays that I learnt include a binding assay and a capture assay that can be utilized to map the epitopes against which a HIV response is directed. In addition, I learnt an Antibody Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity (ADCC) assay to evaluate the Fc-R mediated effector functions of an antibody. Finally, I received level-3 biosafety lab training. The process of learning these assays involved learning basic lab techniques such as maintenance of a pure cell line, extraction of DNA, transformation, and production and purification of the HIV-1 protein gp140. These are all techniques that I will employ to characterize antibodies in the sera of a HIV exposed but seronegative cohort with respect to their ability to neutralise virus or to mediate antibody-mediated cellular cytotoxicity, which may explain their protection from HIV infection despite multiple exposures. These assays were previously not established at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme and will be of interest not just to myself but also to other HIV immunologists at Kilifi.

The Neutralising Antibody Centre has a large team of HIV scientists, including structural and computational biologists, immunologists and protein chemists that investigate the function of HIV-specific antibodies with the aim to devise an effective AIDS vaccine. Through out my training, I met several of these scientists. I learnt about their research, and the approach that they are taking to define the immune response that an effective vaccine needs to elicit, and to design an immunogen that would be capable of eliciting such responses. The training that I received not only equipped me with valuable immunology and molecular biology techniques but also enriched my understanding of immunity, and of the current trends in research within HIV immunology.



Back

2017 Timeline

  • Application for 2017 scholarships is now closed
  • 2017 scholarships announced late December 2016
  • Application for 2018 scholarships opens September 2017

JOIN OUR EMAIL LIST

HOW TO APPLY


If you are interested in applying for a scholarship find out more below:

HOW TO APPLY

AM I ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?


The scholarships are for health care professionals in early/mid-career who are located in resource-limited settings from low-income and lower-middle-income countries working in the field of HIV infection. Read more to see if you are eligible.