Daming Zhou will give a talk about Structural studies on receptor binding and antibody neutralization mechanisms of Enterovirus 71, and Vincent Roy-Di Piazza on When science speaks to angels: an introduction to Emanuel Swedenborg.
Daming Zhou, DPhil Student in Clinical Medicine, Nuffield Department of Medicine
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is an infectious disease that mainly affects infants and children. According to reports of WHO, there have been about 2,000,000 cases of HFMD in Asian countries every year since 2010. Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is one of the most common causes of HFMD.
Human scavenger receptor class B, member 2 (SCARB2) is a cellular receptor for EV71 and it helps EV71 to enter human cells. We have determined the structure of the EV71-SCARB2 complex using one popular technology - Cryo-electron microscopy (Cryo-EM). This structure clarifies how EV71 interacts with SCARB2 on human cell surface.
Our collaborators have identified 13 anti-EV71 human monoclonal antibodies from EV71-infected children. With these antibodies, we also solved cryo-EM structures of EV71-antibody complexes. Our results indicate different ways used by these antibodies to neutralize EV71.
Our studies on EV71-receptor interaction and neutralization mechanisms of antibodies may contribute to the development of anti-EV71 drugs and antibody-based therapy for HFMD.
In the last part of my presentation, I will talk about the work of one colleague in our group about how anticancer drug toremifene and the painkiller ibuprofen inhibit Ebola viruses as an example of how structural biology helps drug development.
I have an interest in medicine from the very beginning. I did some work on crystallography by shooting crystals of protein using X-rays when I was an undergraduate, from which I acquired some basic understanding of doing research. Now I mainly work on Cryo-electron microscopy, a new way to see 3-dimensional confirmations of proteins. My experience in a medicine company before made me know how urgent and difficult to find drugs treating diseases and I hope my hard work could help this a little bit.
Vincent Roy-Di Piazza, DPhil candidate, History of Science and Medicine, Economic & Social History
Emanuel Swedenborg, born in Stockholm in 1688 and died in London in 1772, was a Swedish scientist and visionary theologian. An assessor at the Board of Mines of Sweden for thirty-one years, Swedenborg served as a member of the House of Nobles and an elected member of the Swedish Royal Academy of sciences. In 1747 he resigned to focus on theology, claiming to have acquired the gift to speak with angels, spirits of the dead and travel through the heavens and hells. As a result, he started a considerable work of biblical exegesis, based on his regular interactions with angels and his visionary insight of the inner meaning of Scriptures. Rarely remembered as a scientist, Swedenborg is best known by the public for his spiritual writings and detailed descriptions about the nature of the afterlife, heaven and hell, which inspired many figures, from William Blake and Immanuel Kant to Honoré de Balzac.
This paper will introduce the main aspects of Swedenborg's thought, and will particularly reflect on his use of visionary abilities to explore scientific inquiries.
Vincent Roy-Di Piazza is a DPhil student in History of Science and Medicine at Linacre College, University of Oxford. Vincent previously graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS Ulm) in Paris, France, the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE) and the Sorbonne. An AHRC funded student, Vincent is also Doctoral Scholar of the Swedenborg Society in London and Linacre's current Ryle Scholar in Philosophy of Science.