Jenny Woof (School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, UK) | March 31, 2016 - 11h00 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão




Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) constitute the largest single class of biologic drugs under development. To date, all licensed therapeutic antibodies are based on the IgG class. Interest is now turning to IgA as an alternative option that may afford particular advantages, for example in mucosal settings and to treat certain types of cancer or infection. However, it will first be important to have a thorough understanding of the functional capabilities of IgA. We have undertaken a detailed analysis of the molecular basis for the interaction of a variety of receptors with IgA, which has enabled us to build a map of key interaction sites on IgA. Further, we have dissected the potential points of weakness in IgA’s armour by determining which sites are targeted by certain pathogens, and developed ways to circumvent these vulnerabilities through appropriate point mutations. My talk will describe our work aimed at a better understanding of this key immunoglobulin class and our efforts to develop novel IgA-based mAbs for targeting of tumours and infectious agents.


Jenny Woof studied for her PhD in the lab of Dennis Burton on the interaction of IgG and Fcγ receptors at the University of Sheffield. Following post-doctoral work in Sheffield and Paris, upon the award of a Wellcome Trust University Award she moved to the Medical School at University of Dundee in 1993, to set up her own research group. The major research focus of her group is immunoglobulin structure and function encompassing research into IgG, IgA, IgE and IgD in humans and other mammals. She also has interests in engineering of antibody-based reagents for therapeutic application. Recently she relocated her lab to the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee, and was appointed Associate Dean for Quality and Academic Standards. She has served on grant review panels for the Wellcome Trust, Asthma UK and Medical Research Scotland, has chaired both FASEB and Gordon Research Conferences, and is currently a Trustee for Medical Research Scotland.


[Host: Pedro Esteves, Immunogenetics, Microbes and Infectious Diseases]


Image credits: Jenny Woof