Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Award for Dr David Cole
Dave Cole has been awarded 5 years worth of funding (£771,080) to study the structural and biophysical parameters that govern T-cell receptor binding to peptide-major histocompatibility complex class II, and how this interaction can be modified in order to develop therapies and enhanced diagnostic tools directed at CD4+ T helper cell mediated immunity.
The importance of T-cells to human health is immense. T-cells are essential for immunity to pathogens and cancer, and they hold the key to vaccination. T-cells also cause a large number of autoimmune disease, play an important role in organ transplant rejection and are responsible for some allergies. The devastating effects of low numbers of just one subset of T-cells, CD4+ T-helper cells, are all too evident in HIV/AIDS.
Developing diagnostic tools and vaccines for CD4+ T-cell immune responses:
The generation of the molecules involved in T-cell signalling has allowed pioneering studies on the molecular rules that govern antigen recognition by CD8+ T-cells. This has enabled the development of enhanced peptide vaccines for treating infectious disease and cancer. It has also led to the generation of diagnostics, that have revolutionised the T-cell field by enabling the direct enumeration, phenotyping and sorting of disease specific T-cells. However, these advances have not yet extended to the CD4+ T-helper cell system. I propose to overcome these problems and unlock the molecular rules that govern CD4+ T helper cell immunity. The benefits of understanding and manipulating CD4+ T helper cell immunity has numerous applications for improving human health. Thus, my research proposal is both timely and enterprising and will enable the development of enhanced diagnostic tools and vaccines of CD4+ T helper cell mediated human diseases.
How the funding will influence my career:
This Career Development award will allow me to build my own independent research group over the next 5 years. This excellent opportunity is extremely exciting and will act as a springboard to elevate my research career to the next level.
- 23rd August 2011