Tag Archive: Continuing Education & Training in HIV vaccine development programme

  1. Students in Focus – where are they now?

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    We revisit some of the early career researchers from our past Students in Focus to see where they are now and how their EAVI2020 experiences have helped them along the way.

    We continue to be very proud and celebrate the successes of the early career researchers who took part in our Continuing Education & Training in HIV vaccine development programme. Over the past year, our EAVI2020 Students in Focus series has shone a spotlight on the students to hear from them about their experience in the programme. Here, we catch up with Nathifa and Alessandra.

    Nathifa Moyo

    Read Nathifa’s original feature

    Profile photo of Nathifa Moyo

    What work did you do as part of EAVI? and what are you up to now?

    I was based at The Jenner Institute, University of Oxford for 5 years as a postdoctoral researcher in the EAVI consortium. There, I was involved in the development of a T-cell vaccine for HIV-1 using the novel T-cell based immunogens, tHIVconsvX. Newly emerging technologies were combined to maximize the potential for inducing effective and durable T-cell responses in pre-clinical and clinical models. In addition, multiple vectors for antigen delivery, such as simian (chimpanzee) adenovirus (ChAdOx1), poxvirus-modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) and new technologies like messenger RNA (mRNA), were assessed to determine if these systems offer opportunities to enhance cellular immune responses.

    I have since moved to biotech and joined the Immunology research team at Enara Bio, where my current focus is based on the development of novel T-cell based immunotherapies for cancer.

    What did you find most valuable about being part of the EAVI2020 training and development programme?

    The training and development programme provided opportunities to network and learn from other academic, industry and public health partners. It provided tremendous insight and knowledge into the process of vaccine development from bench construction to pre-clinical animal models and finally to the clinics.

    Any recent highlights to share?

    I was presented with the 2021 HIVR4P Mathieson New Investigator Award in HIV Research. This was awarded for my research and published work in Moyo et al., 2020: Tetravalent immunogen assembled from conserved regions of HIV-1 and delivered as mRNA demonstrates potent preclinical T cell immunogenicity and breath. In 2018, I was awarded with the Human Vaccine Trail Network (HVTN) Translational HIV Vaccine Early-Stage Investigator Award.

     

    Alessandra Gallinaro

    Read Alessandra’s original feature

    profile photo of Alessandra Gallinaro

    What work did you do as part of EAVI and what are you up to now?

    I have been part of the EAVI 2020 consortium since I was a PhD student. I worked on my PhD thesis on developing an IDLV (Integrase Defective Lentiviral Vector) based HIV vaccine using EAVI rationally designed HTI and UFO antigens. At present, as a post-doc, I am still working on improving and implementing IDLV as a vaccine platform for HIV and the novel SARS 2 coronavirus.

    What did you value most about being part of the EAVI2020 training and development programme?

    During the EAVI2020 training and development programme, I greatly appreciated the opportunity to share knowledge, expertise and data with other students and with PIs by acquiring very useful contacts and collaborations for my project. Also, writing abstracts, creating posters and presenting my work was a great opportunity to improve my skills.

    Any new publications to share with us?
    Gallinaro A, Borghi M, Pirillo MF, et al. Development and Preclinical Evaluation of an Integrase Defective Lentiviral Vector Vaccine Expressing the HIVACAT T Cell Immunogen in Mice. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.omtm.2020.01.013
    Gallinaro A, Pirillo MF, Aldon Y, et al. Persistent Immunogenicity of Integrase Defective Lentiviral Vectors delivering membrane tethered Native-Like HIV-1 Envelope Trimers (pre-print). Submitted to NPJ vaccines.

  2. EAVI2020 Students in Focus: Alessandra Gallinaro from the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) in Italy.

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    profile photo of Alessandra Gallinaro

    My name is Alessandra Gallinaro and I am a Postdoc Researcher at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) in Rome, Italy.

    The road to my PhD

    Whilst studying Medical Biotechnology at “La Sapienza” University in Rome I was captivated by virology and immunology. I have been involved in the HIV field since obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree, during which I worked alongside clinicians studying drug resistance in patients being treated with HAART. After a fellowship at the Italian National AIDS Centre, in 2014 I transferred to Dr. Andrea Cara’s lab (ISS) where I am still located.

    Last year, I achieved my PhD in Experimental Medicine, in collaboration with the University “La Sapienza” in Rome. My PhD project focused on the development of an HIV-vaccine using Integrase Defective Lentiviral Vectors (IDLVs) as a delivery platform. As immunogens, we selected two of the EAVI2020 antigens to induce cellular immune response and IDLVs expressing UFOs antigens to elicit broadly neutralising antibodies (bNAbs).

    Being part of EAVI2020’s Training Programme

    In the last four years, I have been part of EAVI2020’s Education and Training programme. I attended a majority of the courses and found them very beneficial in broadening my knowledge and understanding regarding various aspects of the research in order to develop an effective vaccine against HIV: B- and T-cell immunity, rational design of vaccine candidates, use of different vaccine delivery systems, animal models.

    We were given the chance to visit the animal facilities in Paris and I thoroughly enjoyed the wet workshop in Madrid where I gained knowledge of how to characterise neutralising antibodies. It was also very fascinating to understand how industrial production of protein vaccines is made with GMP procedures at the Polymun Scientific in Vienna.

    Thanks to EAVI2020 training courses and annual meetings, I had the possibility to write abstracts, create scientific posters, and present my project’s progression. I have been given the great opportunity to improve my skills, both orally and in written communication and to share data and ideas amongst other students and PIs.

    EAVI2020 annual meetings were ideal in acquiring contacts and collaborations with the EAVI partners. Furthermore, interaction and an exchange of views with some of the most important people within the field of HIV research was very invigorating. I learned the importance of a scientific community, in which everyone collaborates making available its own expertise and resources in order to reach the same goal.

    Looking forward

    In my foreseeable future, I will continue to work within Andrea Cara’s team, striving to implement IDLV platform for UFOs antigens to further increase its immunogenicity.

    Outside the lab

    When out of my workplace, I like spending time with my family and friends and I enjoy a relaxing stroll along the promenade. I love travelling and I’m also a fan of detective series and mystery books.

     

  3. EAVI2020 9th PhD training course to go ahead

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    Postponed due to the global pandemic, ‘HIV glycoprotein engineering for vaccines’ will be virtual course as organised by EAVI2020 partners, Amsterdam University Medical Centre (AMC).

    After a few months delay due to COVID-19, EAVI2020 are pleased to announce that the 9th iteration of the PhD training course will be going ahead on 18th November 2020. EAVI2020 partners, Amsterdam University Medical Centre (AMC) who had originally organised for the student to attend in-person in April of this year, have adapted the program to be a virtual course.

    Titled HIV glycoprotein engineering for vaccines, the programme’s presenters include keynote speaker, Dr Hans Langedijk, Research Director at Janssen Research & Development and AMC postdocs, Kwinten Sliepen, Tom Caniels and Yoann Aldon. The day will focus on envelope protein engineering including a comparative analysis on the pathogenicity of HIV and SARS-CoV-2.

    It has been a challenging time for the organising committee to continue EAVI2020’s research programme during the global pandemic. However, Dr Rogier Sanders, Dr Marit Gils, Ronald Derking, Sliepen Kwinten, the Amsterdam team and other collaborators were committed to making it work and ensuring the students continue to get the most out of EAVI2020’s Continuing Education & Training in HIV vaccine development programme.

    Supporting the next generation of scientists

    Lead by Dr Joan Joseph (VHIR) and Prof Britta Warhen (KI), employment and training of young scientists in Europe and in association with European research groups are important aspects of EAVI2020. The consortium are committed to providing scientific fellowships and exchange to maximise training of the next generation of young scientists. A training program in vaccine development improves and disseminate advanced research skills developed within the project which synchronously, enables young scientists to contribute to the dissemination of knowledge in the field of vaccine research and development in their own institutions.

    To date, there have been 8 EAVI2020 PhD training courses hosted by EAVI2020’s various partners across Europe. The courses have focussed on clinical and laboratory-based training and have befitted Master students, PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows from EAVI2020’s partner institutions. For a closer look at one of the PhD training courses, read about the 7th course titled From Lab to Clinic

  4. EAVI2020 Students in Focus: Athina Kilpeläinen (Karolinska Institutet, Sweden)

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    Throughout the past four years, the students of EAVI2020 have worked tirelessly in The Continuing Education & Training in HIV vaccine development programme. This is a work package of the EAVI2020 project dedicated to the employment and training of young scientists in Europe. It comprises of scientific fellowships, student exchange, wet workshops, and a PhD Programme to maximise the training of the next generation of young scientists in the field of vaccine development. It is now time we shine a positive spotlight on the students to hear from them about their experience in the programme, lessons learned and what they hope to achieve moving beyond EAVI2020s. ‘EAVI2020 Students in Focus’ will be a regular news feature so be sure to subscribe to the EAVI2020 newsletter to get the latest updates.  In this issue, we feature Yoann Aldon and Athina Kilpelïnen.

    Athina Kilpeläinen

    During the EAVI2020 training program, I was given the chance to present my work orally and discuss my findings and conclusions with fellow students. This provided me with the opportunity to improve my presentation skills as well as receive valuable scientific input and advice. During the training program, I have had the chance to partake in practical courses and learn new laboratory methods. These experiences have been highly fruitful and will be highly beneficial to my scientific career. This has been the most rewarding part, aside from the relationships I’ve been able to build thanks to the program. As an EAVI2020 PhD student, I was given the opportunity to move to Barcelona (Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR)) all the way from Stockholm (Karolinska Institutet). It has been a great experience overall, discovering a new culture, meeting new people and being welcomed into a new research laboratory. Furthermore, being a part of the consortium, I was able to expand my research network and build relationships with scientists at all stages in the field, aside from just PhD students. This will be a great benefit in the next stage of my scientific career as a postdoctoral researcher. I strongly recommend taking part in a PhD training course like the one arranged in the EAVI2020. My advice would be to not be afraid to ask questions or interact with fellow students.

    You can see Athina speak as a panellist in the EAVI2020 webinar titled, Developing an effective #HIV vaccine: what do we need and when will we get there?

  5. EAVI2020 Students in Focus: Yoann Aldon (Imperial College London, UK)

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    Feature image by Nino Carè from Pixabay

    Throughout the past four years, the students of EAVI2020 have worked tirelessly in the Continuing Education & Training in HIV vaccine development programme. This is a work package of the EAVI2020 project dedicated to the employment and training of young scientists in Europe. It comprises of scientific fellowships, student exchange, wet workshops, and a PhD Programme to maximise the training of the next generation of young scientists in the field of vaccine development. It is now time we shine a positive spotlight on the students to hear from them about their experience in the programme, lessons learned and what they hope to achieve moving beyond EAVI2020s. ‘EAVI2020 Students in Focus’ will be a regular news feature so be sure to subscribe to the EAVI2020 newsletter to get the latest updates.  In this issue, we feature Yoann Aldon and Athina Kilpelïnen.

    Yoann Aldon

    Being involved in the EAVI2020 consortium as a PhD student was a very positive experience. Over the 4 years of my PhD in Prof Robin J. Shattock’s group at Imperial College, this remarkable H2020 European project set up biannual courses and promoted student mobility between research groups. In addition to being exposed to new techniques and knowledge, these courses, as well as the annual meetings, strengthened collaborations and bonds among students and collaborators across Europe. Throughout my PhD years, I had the chance to be involved in several projects within the EAVI2020 and found that the consortium network was very supportive of students.

    It goes without saying that as students we felt privileged travelling to cities around the continent where we enjoyed visits and nights out together. Another appealing quality of this project was the academic background diversity of the students and researchers involved which created a favourable environment for solving scientific questions rapidly. In my opinion, the EAVI2020 consortium represents a great example of how the European Union is a leader in academic research and can foster successful and efficient public-private partnerships with vaccine products ready for clinical trials within a limited period of time. On a more personal level, I graduated last summer 2019 and I am proud to have been an EU-funded PhD student. I have now joined the group of one of the EAVI2020 partners in Amsterdam, Pr. Rogier W. Sanders, and started my post-doc this January 2020. I am grateful for the opportunities, courses and energy the EAVI2020 gave me and I can only wish that many more consortiums like this one will be funded by the EU.