Professor Andy Porter’s central research theme is the application of antibody engineering to the solution of both medical and environmental problems. …
Antibodies are one of the few molecules that can recognise specific targets present at concentrations as low as a few parts per trillion. Porter and his colleagues specialise in the selection of antibody structures specific for small molecular weight targets (haptens), generating highly sensitive diagnostic molecules and utilising anti-hapten antibodies in a number of exciting biotechnological projects. Currently, these projects include:
1 the development of a new test for water-borne bio-toxins that fully meet WHO guidelines on sensitivity and specificity
2 the development of antibodies for use “off-world”. These antibodies are due to be sent to the planet Mars to help detect molecules that indicate primitive life may have once existed on the planet. Control antibodies for this mission have already been in space as part of the pay-load on a European space agency flight, returning safely and retaining function.
Porter and his team also run the Scottish Biologics Facility (SBF) which is a joint University of Aberdeen and SULSA-funded laboratory, focused on the delivery of antibody and peptide-based tools and reagents for translational medicine. A varied range of projects is associated with the facility, including programmes in oncology, anti-infectives and cardiology. Techniques available include cloning and selection of antibodies and peptides from phage display libraries, recombinant protein expression and antibody characterisation by ELISA , BIAcore and bio-assays. The facility recently signed an MTA with Cambridge University to bring the “McCafferty library” to Aberdeen. This 100 billion clone human naive antibody library allows rapid and reliable selection of monoclonal antibodies to almost any target.