Fellowship - Rachel Tanner

Dr Rachel Tanner, University of Oxford - VALIDATE Fellow

Characterising the BCG-induced antibody response to inform the design of improved vaccines against M.tuberculosis, M.leprae and M.bovis


Project Aims

Tuberculosis (TB), leprosy and bovine TB (bTB) are significant global health problems. The only vaccine that is currently available, BCG, offers variable protection against pulmonary (lung) TB disease and leprosy in humans and against bTB in cattle. A new vaccine is urgently needed, and insights into how BCG works may inform the design of a more protective vaccine. Most of the work to date on this has involved investigation of the cellular (T cell) arm of the immune response. However, it is now clear that antibodies might also have a role to play in BCG-induced protection. Very little is known about the antibody response to BCG vaccination.

This project aims to characterise the antibody response to BCG by identifying the bacterial proteins recognised by these antibodies in serum samples from humans, cattle and non-human primates (NHPs) that have been vaccinated with BCG. The responses will be related to how protected the same cattle and NHPs were from bTB and TB respectively in previous infection experiments. New vaccines will then be produced using the proteins identified with the aim of generating much higher levels of antibodies. I will then test these vaccines to see if they protect mice against TB.

In the future, these proteins may be combined with those that generate a strong cellular response in the hope of offering a more effective vaccine against TB, leprosy and bTB.


Project Outputs

Hayward S, Harding RM, McShane H and Tanner R. Factors influencing the higher incidence of tuberculosis among migrants and ethnic minorities in the UK. F1000Research 13 Apr 2018, 7:461

Tanner R, Villarreal-Ramos B, Vordermeier M, McShane H 2019 The humoral immune response to BCG vaccination. Front Immunol 10:137


Find out more about Dr Rachel Tanner here.

Rachel Tanner