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Dr Sam Wilks

Research Interests

My current research interests focus on developing a better understanding of the immune response to antigenically variable pathogens, with influenza as my study organism.  Using results from haemagglutinin inhibition (HI) assays of human serum samples titrated against a panel of influenza viral strains, I aim to model and describe the immune response following both vaccination and natural infection in terms of antigenic differences between viral strains.  The ultimate goal is to better understand how the pattern of influenza strains already experienced by an individual and the antigenic nature of the strain to which they are exposed interact to dictate the nature of the antibody response generated.

Answers to the questions posed in this area allow powerful inferences to be made about the fundamental basis of development and maintenance of adaptive immunity.  Further, a greater understanding of how the human immune response can be manipulated more effectively yields the potential for even wider impacts, increasing protection afforded for vulnerable individuals against the flu virus through more directly outcome-oriented vaccine strain selection.

Key Publications

 

Fonville JM*, Wilks SM*, James SL, Fox A, Ventresca M, Aban M, Xue L, Jones TC, Le NMH, Pham QT, Tran ND, Wong Y, Mosterin A, Katzelnick LC, Labonte D, Le TT, van der Net G, Skepner E, Russell CA, Kaplan TD, Rimmelzwaan GF, Masurel N, de Jong JC, Palache A, Beyer WEP, Le QM, Nguyen TH, Wertheim HFL, Hurt AC, Osterhaus ADME, Barr IG, Fouchier RAM, Horby PW, Smith DJ. Antibody landscapes after influenza virus infection or vaccination. Science 2014 (346): 996-1000. (* these authors contributed equally)