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Dr Jay Laver


Principal Research Fellow in Molecular Microbiology and Controlled Human Infection

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Dr Laver is a Molecular Microbiologist leading a programme on the use of genetically modified commensal bacteria to deliver vaccine antigens to the upper respiratory tract. 

To do this his team uses a controlled human infection model, housed in the NIHR Clinical Research Facility at Southampton General Hospital. His team hope to use this model not only to protect people against vaccine-preventable diseases, but also to identify elements of the immune system that might prevent colonisation by pathogens and pathobionts. The exclusion of disease-causing bacteria from carriage in the upper respiratory tract would be enormously beneficial to public health.

Landmark publications:

A recombinant commensal bacteria elicits heterologous antigen-specific immune responses during pharyngeal carriage Jay Laver, Diane Gbesemete, Adam Dale, Zoe Caroline Pounce, Carl N Webb, Eleanor F Roche, Jonathan Guy, Graham A Berreen, Konstantinos Belogiannis, Alison Hill, Muktar Ibrahim, Muhammad Ahmed, David Cleary, Anish Pandey, Holly E. Humphries, Lauren Allen, Hans De Graaf, Martin C. J. Maiden, Saul Faust, Andrew Gorringe, & Robert Read , 2021 , Science Translational Medicine , 13 (601) DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abe8573

Dale A.P., Theodosiou A.A., Gbesemete D.F., Guy J.M., Jones C.F., Hill A.R., Ibrahim M.M, de Graaf H., Ahmed M., Faust S.N., Gorringe A.R., Polak M.E., Laver J.R., Read R.C. (Accepted 14.09.2022) Effect of colonization with Neisseria lactamica on cross-reactive antimeningococcal B cell responses: A randomised, controlled, human infection trial. The Lancet Microbe.

Dale A.P., Gbesemete D.F., Read R.C., Laver J.R. (2022) Neisseria lactamica Controlled Human Infection Model. Methods Mol Biol. 2414:387-404.

Pandey A., Cleary D.W., Laver J.R., Gorringe A., Deasy A.M., Dale A.P., Morris P.D., Didelot X., Maiden M.C.J., Read R.C. (2018): Microevolution of Neisseria lactamica during nasopharyngeal colonization induced by controlled human infection. Nat Commun. 12;9(1): 4753.

Major grants:

PI: Medical Research Council 2024-2029: Experimental Medicine Award (£3,195,109) Safety and immunogenicity of nasal inoculation with recombinant Neisseria lactamica expressing Factor H binding protein and Neisseria Adhesin A.

Co-Investigator: HIC-Vac 2022: Pump-priming grant (£50,475): Using magnetic enrichment to characterise the frequency and effector phenotype of rare antigen-specific CD4+ memory T cell responses induced by experimental colonisation with wild type and genetically modified strains of Neisseria lactamica.

PI: NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre PhD Studentship 2022: (£90,108): Evaluation of adaptive immune responses to genetically-modified upper respiratory tract commensal flora using controlled human infection.

Co-Investigator: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) 2020: (£78,013) Human controlled infection study to establish the inoculation dose of reconstituted lyophilised Neisseria lactamica to achieve nasopharyngeal colonisation of healthy adults in Mali.

PI: Medical Research Council Confidence in Concept 2018: (£50,000) Experimental Human Challenge with genetically modified commensals expressing the meningococcal adhesin, Neisseria Adhesin A (NadA).

Researcher co-investigator: Medical Research Council 2017-2020: PATHFINDER Award (£1,503,209.39 FEC): Experimental Human Challenge with genetically modified commensals to investigate respiratory tract and mucosal immunity and colonisation.

Researcher co-investigator: Medical Research Council 2016-2017: Theme 2 Innovation grant (£200,239): A genetically modified nasopharyngeal commensal as a platform for human bacteriotherapy.

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