Prof. Lynn Morris

LMorris_Towards an antibody-based HIV vaccine

Prof. Lynn Morris
Morris, DPhil is a Chief Specialist Scientist and heads the HIV virology laboratories within the Centre of HIV & Sexually Transmitted Infections at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in Johannesburg and holds a joint appointment as Research Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she also completed her undergraduate studies. She received her DPhil from the University of Oxford in the UK in 1988. For the past 22 years, Morris has been involved in researching the virological and immunological aspects of South African HIV-1 subtype C infection, making significant contributions to our understanding of how the antibody response to HIV develops. HIV vaccine development is now a major focus of her research and she is responsible for performing neutralising antibody assays on human clinical trials conducted in South Africa. She has supervised or is currently supervising 23 PhD and MSc students and has published over 190 papers in peerreviewed journals, holding a current author H-Index of 47.

About the talk: Intensive efforts to develop a preventive HIV vaccine have been bolstered by the discovery of broad and potent neutralising antibodies in HIV-infected humans. Many of these antibodies have unusual genetic features that present a significant challenge for conventional vaccine approaches. Nevertheless, longitudinal studies are revealing how such lineages evolve and this has enabled identification of the progenitor B cells that an HIV vaccine would need to stimulate. Parallel viral genetic analysis further demonstrates how viral evolution shapes these antibody responses. Collectively such studies in HIV-infected humans who develop broadly cross-neutralising antibodies, are providing important clues for HIV vaccine design.

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