Rosetrees Trust Interdisciplinary Award 2020

Rosetrees Trust Interdisciplinary Award 2020

We are delighted to announce that the winners of the Rosetrees Trust Interdisciplinary Award 2020 are Professor Quentin Sattentau (Oxford University) and Professor Ben Davis (Rosalind Franklin Institute and Oxford University). The team will receive an award of £300,000 over three years to fund their research on creating a vaccine for HIV.

The aim of the annual Interdisciplinary Award is to develop new collaborative studies between researchers in different fields to make advances that will have real benefits to patients. This year’s award was in recognition of the interface between medicine and chemistry. 

The research team recently integrated chemistry, molecular biology and immunology in a novel approach to generating strong immune responses to specific sugar molecules (known as glycans) found in viruses . They now plan to use this approach to design a vaccine that will provide protective antibody responses against HIV. This strategy also has the potential to not only create new vaccines against other viruses that have had a global impact, such as SARS-CoV-2, but to also instruct the immune system to attack cancer cells.

Professor Ravi Gupta/Time magazine 100 most influential people in 2020.

Professor Ravi Gupta/Time magazine 100 most influential people in 2020.

Photography Credit: Jane Stockdale

 

Huge congratulations to Professor Ravi Gupta who has been listed in Time magazine’s ‘100 most influential people of 2020’.

Included along household names such as Killing Eve writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge,  Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, President Donald Trump and Chancellor Angela Merkel,  Professor Gupta’s accolade recognises his involvement in using stem cell transplantation to cure the so-called ‘London Patient’, Adam Castillejo, of HIV infection. Castillejo is only the second person (following the ‘Berlin Patient’) to be cured of HIV.

Professor Gupta is currently supervising  a major project (funded by the Rosetrees Trust and the Wellcome Trust) to improve understanding  of how HIV escapes into the central nervous system (CNS) in patients receiving treatment who should otherwise be free from the long term consequences of the infection.

‘CNS escape’ could be responsible for a variety of clinical problems, such as impairment of memory and concentration in HIV positive case, treatment failures, and hospital admission and disability in a small number of cases.

Professor Gupta is also researching other areas of virology and developing Covid-19 diagnostics. Rosetrees is funding another project in his lab aiming to understand mechanisms causing immune hyperinflammation in Covid-19 patients.

Ravi Gupta is a Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Diseases and a member of the faculty of the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban, South Africa, working on understanding genetic and biological properties of drug resistant HIV in the local population. More details can be found on his laboratory homepage here (https://www.citiid.cam.ac.uk/ravindra-gupta)