Director, The Jenner Institute, University of Oxford
Principal areas of research: Malaria vaccines, vectored vaccine development, immunogenetics of infectious disease susceptibility
Adrian Hill trained in medicine at Trinity College Dublin and the University of Oxford, qualifying in 1982. He undertook a DPhil with Sir David Weatherall and John Clegg at the MRC Molecular Haematology unit on the molecular population genetics of thalassaemia in Pacific Islanders. Following further clinical posts in London he returned to the newly opened Institute of Molecular Medicine in 1988 to study genetic susceptibility to malaria as a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow. In 1995 he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellowship and in 1996 the title of Professor of Human Genetics. He participated in the founding of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in 1994, and in 2003 co-founded the Oxford Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine, which he now chairs. In 2004 he participated in the restructuring of the Edward Jenner Institute for Vaccine Research and in 2005 was appointed director of the new Jenner Institute. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, of Magdalen College, Oxford, and of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences
Professor of Vaccinology, Programme Director for Wellcome Trust Strategic Award on Human and Veterinary Vaccine Development, The Jenner Institute, University of Oxford
After a first degree in Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia, specializing in Microbiology, and a PhD on lipid metabolism in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Hull, Prof Gilbert worked on pentose metabolism in brewing yeasts at the Brewing Research Foundation in Surrey. This led to a research post at the Leicester Biocentre, using molecular biology techniques to study heterologous protein expression in yeast.
Prof Gilbert spent four years at Delta Biotechnology in Nottingham, working on production of recombinant human blood proteins in yeast before moving to Adrian Hill’s group at the University of Oxford in 1994.
Prof Gilbert’s chief research interest is the development of vaccines that work by inducing strong and protective T cell responses. This has included work on DNA vaccines and virus-like protein particles carrying multiple T cell epitopes on their surface, as well as the viral vaccine vectors Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), fowlpox and adenovirus.
Following the discovery that heterologous prime-boost immunisation, in which the same antigen is delivered in first one vector and then another, is highly immunogenic in pre-clinical studies, she designed antigen inserts for, and produced DNA, MVA and fowlpox vaccines which were then manufactured for clinical trials in both the malaria and tuberculosis vaccine clinical programmes.
More recently Prof Gilbert has begun to apply the same principles of vaccine development, pre-clinical and clinical testing to new vaccines against influenza. The currently available ‘flu vaccines work by inducing antibodies to highly variable surface proteins of the virus, and slightly different versions have to be manufactured each year to keep up with changes in the virus. However the internal proteins of the ‘flu virus, which are produced inside infected cells, are well conserved, not only from one year to the next, but also between seasonal ‘flu viruses and those normally found only in avian species. Using these antigens, it should be possible to make a vaccine that protects against all subtypes of influenza, and ultimately, to stop a new pandemic in its tracks.
Director, Oxford Vaccine Group, University of Oxford
Principal areas of research: Paediatric vaccines, meningitis vaccines, the development of the immune response.
Professor Sir Andrew Pollard (BSc, MBBS, PhD London, FRCPCH) is the academic lead for the Postgraduate Diploma. He is Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity at Oxford University and Honorary Consultant Paediatrician at the Children's Hospital, Oxford. He leads a research group (The Oxford Vaccine Group) working on clinical trials of new and improved vaccines for the prevention of infection in children.