Sanjesh always wanted to do something in the medical field but hadn't quite decided which area he wanted to land- in. Following his graduation from Robina State High, he undertook a Bachelor of Health Sciences at Griffith University and graduated in 2012. After this, he started a Master of Medical Research with the intention to apply for PhD the following year. Now, as a PhD candidate at the School of Medical Science, Institute for Glycomics and Menzies Health Institute Queensland at Griffith University, he is investigating Gram-negative bacterial surface glycans, and their possible use to develop vaccines.
Moraxella catarrhalis and nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae are Gram-negative microorganisms that are opportunistic respiratory tract pathogens responsible for 60% otitis media cases in children and 4.2 million deaths globally as a result of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in adults. In-fact the prevalence of otitis media is quite high especially in Australian indigenious community, where 99% of children will contract this infection by the time they reach 3 years of age, and the 2nd leading cause of surgery in infants worldwide. These bacteria cause disease by upregulating inflammation and mucin production, causing damage to Eustachian tube making it to swell-up and close, which traps the mucin being produced in middle ear, which pushes against the eardrum making it very difficult for the infant to hear properly, this has a huge impact on a child’s learning capability, as this the learning stage in a child’s life cycle.Both bacteria have been shown to produce beta-lactamase, which has led to emergence of antibiotic resistance. Currently, there is no licenced vaccine for M. catarrhalis and NTHi infections. It’s well known that virulence factors are traits that contribute to bacterial pathogenicity, and for many Gram-negative organisms lipopolysaccharide on the bacterial surface is a known virulence factor. In-fact several studies have suggested that this cell surface glycan could potentially be incorporated into vaccines to prevent infections by these bacteria. Thefore, the aim of current study is to develop a novel vaccine using lipooligosaccharide of M. catarrhalis and an outer membrane protein from NTHi.
Bakang Baloi is Bakang Baloi is a PhD candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Botswana. His interests are in developing low cost vaccines and diagnostics. His current research aims to develop peptide-based veterinary vaccines.
Peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV) is an acute, highly contagious viral disease of small ruminants. It is endemic to sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. The disease is a major constraint to food security, causing significant economic losses to subsistence farmers in affected areas. The nucleoprotein of morbilliviruses is highly immunogenic and produced in large quantities in virus infected cells. This makes it a suitable target for the host’s immune response. In this study, B-cell and T-cell epitopes of PPRV Nig/75/1 nucleoprotein were predicted using a suite of in silico tools. Forty-six T-cell epitopes were predicted, of which 38 were MHC-I binding while eight were MHC-II binding. Of the 19 B-cell epitopes predicted, 15 were linear epitopes while four were discontinuous epitopes. Homology modelling of PPRV-N was done to elucidate the 3D structure of the protein and conformational epitopes. Conservation analysis of the discontinuous epitopes gave an indication into the similarity of the selected epitopes with other isolates of PPRV. Predicted epitopes may form an important starting point for serological screening and diagnostic tools against PPRV. Experimental validation of the predicted epitopes will assist in selection of promising candidates for consideration as antigen-based diagnostic tools. Such diagnostic tools would play a role in the global fight and possible eradication of PPR.