All of the chalk talks last week were extremely interesting. It was a great opportunity to understand what everyone was researching.
One of the most fascinating talks was Ajile’s presentation. I had never heard of ‘broad neutralizing antibodies’ before. They are antibodies that can attach to, and neutralize HIV. Unfortunately, these proteins do not maintain their function in the human body. This leads to Ajile’s research question. How can the degradation of bNAbs be prevented? She is testing the effect of pH on bNAps. By understanding the conditions that bNAps need to survive, there are all kinds of future research avenues. Can similar antibodies be engineered to not degrade but maintain function? If pH turns out not to be a serious cause of the degradation, then what is the main cause?
The point that I most appreciate about her research topic is its importance and urgency. Knowing how bNAbs degrade and how they can be maintained could create an entirely new HIV treatment that, if it cannot prevent HIV, can at least limit the symptoms.