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Dessert: Frozen Chocolate Mousse (with chocolate splash)
The Chemistry of Vaccines against Major Microbial Pathogens
Bacteria possess a polysaccharide coat that protects them from the initial defenses of the human immune system. However, antibodies that bind these polysaccharides can provide protection against bacterial diseases such as pneumonia and meningitis. This observation provides the basis for using polysaccharides extracted from bacteria as vaccines to confer protection against these and other deadly bacterial diseases.
I will review the progress over the last 40 years toward improved vaccines from the perspectives of the chemistry and immunology that underpins these lifesaving prophylactics. From their modest start currently approved vaccines have become block buster “drugs” for major pharma, that easily exceed the sales of major drugs including Viagra. Recent developments in chemistry suggest that chemical synthesis may in some cases provide fully synthetic vaccines for some diseases.
Professor David Bundle obtained his B.Sc. in Chemistry from Nottingham University (UK) and studied for his Ph.D. in Microbiological Chemistry at the University of Newcastle (UK). He came to Canada as a National Research Council of Canada (NRC) postdoctoral fellow in 1971 to work with Dr. Harold Jennings on the capsular antigens ofNeisseria meningitidis. In 1973 he accepted a postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Raymond Lemieux at the University of Alberta, where he was part of the group that carried out the first rational synthesis of blood group antigens and their covalent attachment to proteins for use as artificial antigens. He then returned to the Division of Biological Science, NRC, where he was successively Group Leader and Head of the Immunochemistry Section. In 1993, he returned to the Department of Chemistry at the University of Alberta where he holds the Lemieux chair in carbohydrate chemistry. He was a member of both the Protein Engineering and the Bacterial Diseases Network Centres of Excellence. In 2002 he founded the Alberta Ingenuity Centre for Carbohydrate Science and was Centre Director from September 2002 to December 2011.
Professor Bundle’s research interests centre on the immunochemistry of bacterial and mammalian antigens. Amongst his most notable scientific publications are contributions that reported
- the application of the then new technique of 13C NMR to the structural elucidation of the capsular antigens of Neisseria meningitidis
- the first rational synthesis of blood group antigens and their use as artificial antigens and immuno-absorbents (patents arising from this work resulted in the establishment of ChemBiomed, a University spin-off and Canada’s first biotechnology venture)
- definitive studies on the structures and serology of the Brucella O-antigens
- the first crystal structure of a carbohydrate-antibody complex
- design of high avidity multivalent ligands for multi-subunit proteins such the Shiga like toxin of pathogenic E. coli O157:H7.
Professor Bundle is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. With four members of the Carbohydrate Centre he was a recipient of the 2011 Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering,. He has received all three major international awards for research on carbohydrates; the 1988 Roy L. Whistler Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry, from the International Carbohydrate Organization, the American Chemical Society’s 2006 Claude S. Hudson Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry, and the Royal Society of Chemistry’s 2012 Haworth Memorial Lectureship.