Harold Marcotte, Project Officer

Portrait PhotoDr Harold Marcotte is an associate Professor within the Division of Clinical Immunology and Transfusion Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine in Karolinska Institutet. He obtained a BSc (1990) and a MSc in Microbiology (1992) as well as a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology (1997) at Université Laval, Canada. He performed postdoctoral studies at the Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, UK (1997-1998) and the Department of Molecular biology, University of Siena, Italy (1998-2000) working on mucosal vaccines.

In 2000, he joined the Division of Clinical Immunology at Karolinska Institutet as a postdoctoral researcher working in the field of antibody therapy, probiotics and microbial engineering. He became Senior researcher in the division of Clinical immunology in 2007 and docent in 2018. He has published a total of 50 publications in the field of antibody development, antibody engineering, and antibody delivery system for therapy against Clostridium difficile, Helicobacter pylori, HIV, norovirus, and coronavirus. Dr Marcotte has managed two EU projects in the past and he is the current scientific manager of the ATAC project aiming to establish a passive immunotherapy against COVID-19.

Email: harold.marcotte@ki.se

Qiang Pan Hammarström, Scientific Coordinator

Portrait PhotoDr. Qiang Pan-Hammarström is a professor of clinical immunology and member of the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute. She is also a visiting professor at Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Centre and Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute in China.
Dr. Qiang Pan-Hammarström was trained as a medical doctor and graduated from Sun Yat-Sen Medical University in 1993. During 1993 and 1994 she worked as a physician at the Guangzhou Respiratory Disease Research Institute. She obtained her PhD degree in clinical immunology at the Karolinska Institute in 1999 and carried out her postdoc training at Harvard Medical School in 2000. In 2001 she came back to the Karolinska Institute where she became an associate professor and group leader in 2004, professor of clinical immunology in 2011. She was a guest professor at Beijing University from 2005 to 2009, a visiting scientist in Harvard Medical School in 2012, a visiting professor at Rockefeller University from 2013-2015, a visiting scientist in the Broad Institute at Harvard and MIT from 2016 to 2017.
Dr. Qiang Pan-Hammarström has published 125 papers in areas of immunoglobulin gene diversifications, primary antibody deficiency, genome instability and B cell malignancies, including papers on high impact journals such as Nature, Cell, Nature Genetics, Nature Biotechnologies. She is current a coordinator of an EU consortium, which is focusing on the development of antibody-based therapy against SARS-CoV2.

Lennart Hammarström, Deputy Scientific Coordinator

Portrait PhotoDr Lennart Hammarström, senior professor at Karolinska Institutet, is internationally recognized for his work on immunogenetics and immunotherapy, having pioneered the use of oral and subcutaneous gammaglobulins from human and animal sources for the latter. He has published more than 600 papers in these fields (h-index 85 more than 30 000 citations according to Google scholar). He is working as a senior professor in the division of clinical immunology (Department of Laboratory Medicine) at the southern campus of the Karolinska Institutet and he is also head of the Swedish Center for Immunodeficiency diseases (SCID), which has been internationally recognized as a Jeffrey Modell Diagnostic center. He has participated in numerous international multi-partner research projects, including NIH and EU framework funded projects, and has served as a coordinator for four of the latter, two of which have centered around passive immunization using antibodies, including clinical trials in Sweden and Bangladesh.

Luca Varani

Portrait PhotoLuca leads the Structural Biology group of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (Bellinzona, CH). The main research activity involves the characterization of interactions between pathogens and antibodies, molecules of the immune system capable of curing and protecting from illness. His group strives to understand the molecular properties that allow a given antibody to eliminate a pathogen.

Since October 2007 he leads the Structural Biology group of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (Bellinzona, CH). The main research activity involves the characterization of interactions between pathogens and antibodies, molecules of the immune system capable of curing and protecting from illness. His group strives to understand the molecular properties that allow a given antibody to eliminate a pathogen. Studies involve mainly rare and neglected diseases such as Dengue or Zika virus, Prion or rare form of Leukemias. The NMR approach developed at Stanford was pushed forward at the IRB, where computational techniques allow discovering which part of the pathogen is recognized by antibodies. Experimentally guided and validated computational simulations yield the atomic three-dimensional structure of antibody/pathogen complexes. The group managed to rationally modify an existing antibody utilizing, for the first time, only computational tools, thus, increasing its ability to neutralize Dengue virus by 50 fold. It also completed one of the rare studies on antibody flexibility, showing how the antibody interferes with the pathogen altering its flexibility. More recently, the same approach led to the design of a bispecific antibody capable of preventing Zika virus escape mechanisms and another bispecific that can cure prion disease even when signs of neurodegeneration are already evident in cellular assays. The group has had recent high impact publications in journals such as Cell, Science, Nat. Mol. Biol. and PNAS.

The group uses a highly multidisciplinary approach, varying from structure determination to cellular experiments, from computational biology to protein and antibody production and engineering, from synthesis of nanoparticles to confocal microscopy.

Davide Robbiani

Portrait PhotoDavide studies B lymphocytes, which are crucial to immune defense because they produce infection-fighting antibodies—the key to the efficacy of most vaccines. Using a combination of experiments with human samples, high throughput antibody cloning, and in vivo animal models of vaccination and infection, Robbiani aims to understand how protective antibodies are formed and to use this information to advance vaccine design. His current work focuses on immune responses to emerging pathogens, including coronaviruses and flaviviruses (Zika, Powassan, tick-borne encephalitis, and others).

After 15 years at Rockefeller University, Robbiani will move with his team to the IRB in Bellinzona, Switzerland, in the Summer of 2020.

Luigi Calzolai

Portrait PhotoDr. Calzolai obtained his M.Sc. in chemistry and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Florence and the University of Sienna, respectively.
After a Postgraduate Research at the University of California, Davis, he joined, in 1998, the Swiss Institute of Technology in Zurich, in the laboratory of the then Nobel laureate Kurth Wuthrich, where he determined the three dimensional structure of prion proteins responsible of neurological disorders, such as Mad Cow Disease and Creutzfeld-Jacob disease. In 2007 he moved to the School of Pharmacy of the University of Kent (UK) as Senior Lecturer in biochemistry.
In 2008 he joined the Joint Research Center of the European Commission where his research focuses on the development of methods for the detection and characterization of nanoparticles, nanomedicines, and biotherapeutics. He is a member of the Core Expert Team of the European Union Nanomedicine Characterization Laboratory (EUNCL). He developed and coordinated the JRC activities in large FP7 (SMART-NANO, BiOrigin) and H2020 (EUNCL) projects, in addition to JRC-financed exploratory projects (SMART-NANO, NANOMICROBIALS). Is coordinating the JRC participation to the H2020 project ATAC (Antibody therapy against coronavirus -COVID-2019).

Michael Hust

Portrait PhotoMichael studied biology at the Carl von Ossietzky Universität in Oldenburg (Germany) from 1993-1999. He received his PhD from the Leibniz Universität in Hannover (Germany) in 2002. Since end of 2002 he is working as group leader at the Technische Universität Braunschweig (Germany). In 2011, he finished his professorial dissertation (Habilitation, venia legendi for Biotechnology) and was appointed as Privatdozent (PD). In 2014, he was appointed as professor for biotechnology.
He published more than 140 articles and filed seven patents in the field of antibody engineering and phage display. He is working on the development of recombinant antibodies for proteome research, diagnostics and therapy with a focus on pathogens (e.g. Western equine encephalitis virus, Marburg virus or Ebola Sudan virus) and toxins (e.g. botulinum toxins or diphtheria toxin). He was scientific coordinator of the EU FP7 project AntibotABE. Another field of work is the identification of biomarkers of pathogens using ORFeome phage display for diagnostic and vaccine development. He co-founded three biotech companies, mAb-Factory GmbH in 2007, YUMAB GmbH (www.yumab.com) in 2012 and Norden Vaccines GmbH in 2019.

Fausto Baldanti

Portrait PhotoFausto Baldanti graduated as Medicine Doctor at the University of Pavia in 1990. In 1995 he achieved the Specialization in Infectious Diseases at the University of Pavia and in 2004 in Microbiology and Virology at the University of Padua. He is Full Professor at the University of Pavia and director of Microbiology and Virology Specialization school of Pavia.
From 2010 he is Head of the Molecular Virology Unit, Microbiology and Virology Department of Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy.
His major scientific activity is focused on development and validation of molecular tools for diagnosis and monitoring of viral infections, study of mechanisms of resistance to antiviral drugs and of pathogenesis of virus infection in immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts, diagnosis and treatment of opportunistic infections in transplanted recipients and surveillance of emerging and reemerging virus infections.
Fausto Baldanti is coauthor of more than 330 papers published on international scientific journals (h-index 51, more than 9830 citations according to Scopus). and of more than 450 presentations (oral and poster) at Italian and International Congresses. He has been awarded with the Heine Medin Medal by the European Society for Clinical Virology and with multiple major competitive grants.