Viruses constitute a major threat to economies and societies. Public health is particularly vulnerable to emerging pathogens that suddenly make their way into the human population. Examples of viruses that have (re)emerged in the last 15 include avian and swine influenza, Ebola and Nipah viruses, SARS- and MERS-coronavirus. To effectively prevent or impact of future outbreaks, antivirals need to be developed that broadly target members of virus families causing zoonotic infections in humans. Since these antiviral strategies are currently lacking, we wish to explore concepts for development broad-spectrum vaccines and generation of broadly-reactive antibodies to combat current and future emerging zoonotic viruses, making use of the combined expertise available within the Utrecht Molecular Immunology Hub in which researchers with complementary expertise in the areas of structural biology, proteomics, glycobiology and functional immunology joined forces.
The postdoctoral researcher will establish a universal platform for the rapid, rational and knowledge-based development broadly-reactive viral intervention strategies - vaccines and prophylactic and therapeutic antibodies - for emerging pathogens. Proof of principle will be shown for coronaviruses and influenza A viruses, virus family of which members to cause zoonotic infections in humans. Antibodies will be isolated from vaccinated or infected animals that target a range of viruses and their epitopes and mechanisms of action will be assessed. In addition, vaccination concepts to humoral responses towards broadly conserved epitopes will be tested that can generate broad range immunity against emerging zoonotic viruses.
We are looking for a highly motivated, post-doctoral fellow with interest in understanding immune responses against infections, with good verbal and written communication skills in English, and experience in the molecular biology and/immunology research field.