Month: December 2019

Congratulations Hugo Villanueva | Student Update

Hugo Villanueva passed his PhD viva on 6th December 2019, having studied in Dr Renos Savva’s research group at Birkbeck, co-supervised by Dr Vitor Pinheiro and Prof Elena Orlova. Hugo had recently successfully been awarded an IPF award by LIDo to pursue commercialisation of his research.

Hugo has made the most of that opportunity by successfully being awarded his application for ICURe (Innovation & Commercialisation of University Research – funded by InnovateUK). The award is one of the very limited places on the programme in Cohort 26. The requirements are very high for the programme and Hugo will join a small number of teams who have been accepted on to the Cohort.

During the programme (approximately 3 months) Hugo will be able to claim up to £35,000 of expenditure, to enable him to carry out market validation of his research-based business idea and receive intensive support in developing a structured business model. At the end of the programme, Hugo will present to a panel of innovation experts and entrepreneurs. He may then be invited to apply for spin-out/start-up funding or carry out some further market validation.

Dr Hugo Villanueva will start his full-time activity on Monday 6th January 2020, until Tuesday 31st March 2020. His team consist of himself, Dr Renos Savva (senior research adviser), Dr Mark Fisher (UCL-B), and Dr David Lunn (Revenant Bio, business adviser). The team begins its quest to launch a start-up biotech at the opening symposium in Reading from 6th to 9th January.

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Two adaptive immune receptor databases hosted at the ISMB

Dr Adrian Shepherd’s computational immunology group are now hosting two databases – OGRDB and VDJbase – that focus on the analysis of large immune repertoire datasets.

The Open Germline Receptor Database (OGRDB) was developed in collaboration with members of the Adaptive Immune Receptor Repertoire (AIRR) Community, and is used to support the inference of novel germline genes from B- and T-cell repertoires. Genetic differences in the loci that encode B- and T-cell receptors are poorly characterised by conventional genome sequencing; a better understanding of such differences may help to explain why individuals often respond differently to pathogens, vaccines and biotherapeutics. This work is published in leading edge research publication Nucleic Acids Research.

Whereas OGRDB is about individual genes, VDJbase is about whole genotypes and haplotypes – the complete sets of immunoglobulin genes that are expressed by different individuals. This resource supports a range of different kinds of analysis, including the inference of gene deletions within a single haplotype, and the estimation of gene heterozygosity within a population. Originally developed by Gur Yaari’s lab at Bar-Ilan University, VDJbase is now co-developed and hosted at Birkbeck, and is also published in NAR.

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New findings on the self-preservation properties of killer T cells | UCL research paper published

UCL News article ‘What protects killer immune cells from harming themselves?’ (27th Nov 2019) announces a collaborative paper published in peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications, identifying mechanisms by which white blood cells protect themselves.

The paper – ‘Lipid order and charge protect killer T cells from accidental death’ – was co-authored by Professor Bart Hoogenboom (London Centre for Nanotechnology, UCL Physics & Astronomy and UCL Structural & Molecular Biology) and presents findings from scientists at UCL and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.

To read the article in full (and for additional content & links) please visit the original UCL News article.


Posted by ubcg49z in News