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Dr Laura McCoy
  • Marie Curie IOF Fellow
  • Div of Infection & Immunity
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences

Laura McCoy is a Postdoctoral Researcher at University College London (UCL), UK working with Prof. Robin Weiss. She completed her undergraduate studies in Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, UK in 2004 and received her PhD degree in 2010 from Imperial College London, UK. After joining Prof. Weiss’s group in 2010, Laura developed a novel screening method that led to the isolation of a potently neutralizing llama heavy-chain only antibody variable region (VHH) J3 from a llama immunized with HIV envelope proteins.

Research Summary

In collaboration with the group of Prof. Theo Verrips in the Netherlands and Mike Seaman at the CA-VIMC, Laura demonstrated that J3 neutralizes 96% of strains including subtypes A, B, C, D, BC, AE, AG, AC, ACD, CD, and G. The breadth and potency of J3 is much improved compared to the anti–HIV antibodies previously isolated after immunization, including but not limited to other llama VHH. A high-throughput robotic platform has been used to isolate additional potent neutralizing VHH. Like J3, these VHH also target the CD4-binding site but neutralize viruses which are resistant to J3, highlighting the diverse ways this conserved region is susceptible to antibodies. These findings have been published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine in 2012: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22641382  

Academic Background
2010 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Virology University College London/Imperial College
2004 M. Biochem Master of Biochemistry – Biochemistry University of Oxford
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