Katie J Ewer
As the senior immunologist for the Ebola and pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccine trials, I oversee the immunology on Phase I and II trials of vectored vaccines, both in the UK and in field trials in Africa. We use the chimpanzee adenovirus, ChAd63, as a priming vector and modified vaccinia virus (MVA) as a boosting vaccination and these viruses encode proteins from the organism that can elicit protective immune responses in our vaccinated volunteers.
The aim of my research is to define vaccine-induced immunological parameters that correlate with protection from malaria. I have access to samples from our volunteers that I can study using methods such as ELISPOT, flow cytometry and transcriptional profiling. By combining data from these different assays and analysing how these different measures relate to protection against malaria, I have been able to define the function and phenotype of T cells that are associated with protection in our human challenge model.
These findings can then be relayed back through the vaccine development process to improve the immunogenicity of our viral vectors for future trials and hopefully increase vaccine efficacy.