EXPVACC team (LEV) – University of Copenhagen

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Experimental Vaccinology team (EXPVACC/LEV)

Laboratory for Experimental Vaccinology (EXPVACC/LEV)

The laboratory is focused on the development of new technologies and application strategies to eliminate chronic viral infections and virus-associated cancer. The primary targets are HIV, papillomavirus and cancers expressing viral antigens. Our work is based on using viral vectors for genetic delivery of vaccine antigens. By fusion of the vaccine antigens to genetic adjuvants we have developed the world-leading technology for eliciting CD8+ T cells against vaccine-encoded antigens. We are now investigating how to generate stronger and better targeted CD4+ T-cell and antibody responses to supplement the CD8+ T-cell responses we can achieve against retroviral envelope proteins and papillomaviruses.

Bench-to-bedside

The work in the laboratory is driven by imagination and creativity, which shows both in the development of novel vaccine designs and in choosing methods for the subsequent validation of these vaccine designs in model systems. A reverse system is also applied where we assess newly hypothesized protection mechanisms in rodents by targeted vaccine designs.

Translational work (bedside-to-bench)

A recent focus in the group has been the establishment of collaborations with Danish clinical scientists working on diseases which can be targeted by immune therapy. In these projects, we are investigating relevant targeting strategies for human cancers and we work to develop models to test treatment of human cancers in small animal models.

Collaborations

The laboratory works under the understanding that clinical progression and validation of vaccine concepts requires collaboration with the biopharmaceutical industries. Patent protection of new technologies is sought where relevant and laboratory group members are inventors on patent applications which are subject to licenses. This forms the basis for collaborations with commercial partners that have been instrumental in taking virus vector based vaccine technologies forward.

We also collaborate with a number of academic partners. These have included the Tulane National Primate Research Center on conducting vaccine tests against the HIV model, SIV, and the Bogor Agricultural University National Primate Research Center on vaccination strategies targeting natural papillomavirus infections. We are participating in the UC-CARE consortium, and we collaborate locally on anti-parasitic immunization strategies and mechanisms of virus-induced cancers. We furthermore work with Aarhus University on virus-induced immune suppression, with DUKE University and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative on characterization of virus-induced antibody responses and with local immunologist groups on a number of murine model systems.