Research Bites of Molecular Science. NANOBODIES: Tiny Antibodies

On 13th November 2020 SRAP-IEAP organised a special online Research Bites event of Molecular Science: “NANOBODIES: Tiny Antibodies“. Given that speakers were in Europe, Australia and USA, this event happened at midnight Australia time. The main organiser was our member Carmen Salvador Palomeque.

The event was fully recorded and it is available in our YouTube channel:

Being tiny is not always a disadvantage in the natural world. Size does matter! Nanobodies are a cool example of that. Be amazed by their biology and their potential applications in research, diagnostics and therapeutics. Here in this webinar we will have the opportunity to learn from 2 investigators whose labs are using these tiny molecules, Asst. Prof. Helen Dooley and Assoc. Prof. Gerald McInerney.

  • Talk 1: How sharks are helping us attack disease.
  • Talk 2: An alpaca nanobody neutralises SARS-CoV-2 by blocking receptor interaction.

The speakers:

Helen Dooley is an Assistant Professor at University of Maryland School of Medicine, in Baltimore, USA, where her team study the immune system of sharks. Their work aims to discover how these amazing animals protect themselves from infection and how this compares with humans. Much of their work to date has focused upon antibody responses following immunization, with particular focus upon a novel isotype, IgNAR, that is found only in sharks. Like camelid heavy chain antibodies, IgNAR does not require light chain to bind target, instead using soluble nanobody-like domains (VNARs). This platform has been used to raise highly specific reagents for disease diagnosis, and potentially treatment, in humans and other animals.

Gerald McInerney is Associate Professor of Virology at Karolinska Institutet. His research group have a long-standing interest in the molecular and cell biology of viral infection. They have studied how cellular metabolic and signaling pathways are modulated by infection. More recently, they have established a nanobody identification platform at Karolinska Institutet and have generated specific nanobodies against numerous viral targets. Since early 2020, they have been focused on developing nanobodies against SARS-CoV-2 with diagnostic and therapeutic potential.