Published: 2021-02-10 08:01 | Updated: 2021-02-22 18:49

KI researcher awarded NIH grant for HIV vaccine research and design

Person with face mask getting vaccine
For her research in HIV vaccine and design, Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam recieves grant from NIH. Photo: Getty Images

For her research in HIV vaccine and design, professor Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology receives 1.8 million US dollar, multidisciplinary, long-term research program (P01) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Classic studio portrait.
Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam, Professor of Vaccine Research, Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology. Photo: Erik Flyg

The total amount of 12 Million of USD is to be shared between 5 research groups. Professor Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam collaborates with Dr. Guido Silvestri at Emory University (US), and Dr. Ian Wilson, Dr. Andrew Ward and Dr. Richard Wyatt at The Scripps Research Institute (US) on this grant, with Dr. Wyatt as the Prime.

The aim of the project is to evaluate B cell responses to structurally defined virus spike-proteins with the aim to target neutralizing antibody responses on conserved determinants on otherwise highly diverse HIV-1 strains. Because B cell precursors capable of making such antibodies are rare, a key component of the project is to study genetic properties of the B cell repertoire. Professor Karlsson Hedestam’s lab at Karolinska Institutet has developed methodologies that are critical to the project, allowing NGS-based antibody lineage tracing and analysis of germline immunoglobulin (IG) VDJ gene segments in outbred species, recently published in JEM (2020) and Immunity (2021).