Dr. Brandon DeKosky is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas Departments of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, where his laboratory leverages recent advances in next-generation DNA sequencing technologies to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of immune function and accelerate the development of new vaccines and therapeutics. During his graduate research, Dr. DeKosky invented the very first technology for sequencing the antibody proteins encoded by B cells at the single-cell level, at a massive scale (for example, over 5 million single B cells in a one-day experiment), which reduced cost and enhanced throughput for antibody sequencing by multiple orders of magnitude compared to traditional antibody discovery platforms. Dr. DeKosky also pioneered the associated bioinformatic methods for rapid statistical analysis of the very large datasets generated by this approach. Ongoing efforts in the DeKosky lab, supported by an NIH Director’s Early Independence Award and a United States Department of Defense Career Development Award, and focus on expanding our ability to determine the mechanisms of protection for human vaccines and to develop novel precision human immune therapies.
Recent work has revealed that rare antibodies can effectively interrupt malaria and HIV-1 transmission. We developed new approaches for efficient antibody discovery and engineering against the malaria circumsporozoite protein (CSP), enabling exquisite anti-malarial protective potency. Using the same strategy, we engineered the most broadly neutralizing antibody reported against the HIV-1 fusion peptide. We are also expanding these approaches toward new targets for immunotherapeutics. This presentation will share these new molecular approaches in precision antibody drug discovery.