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Yue Du

Postdoctoral Research Scientist

I am currently a postdoctoral researcher working in the Gene Medicine group. Funded by the Wellcome Trust, my project is to evaluate whether the lung can be used as a ‘protein factory’ to make therapeutic proteins such as antibodies against respiratory diseases (e.g. influenza and COVID-19). Since the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, we have developed viral vector-mediated immunoprophylaxis against COVID-19, termed as 'COVIP', We believe that the viral vector delivery of neutralizing monoclonal antibody by direct lung inhalation could be useful, especially for individuals who cannot gain effective immunity from existing vaccines and could potentially prevent clinical sequelae for COVID-19 and other respiratory infections Moreover, I am investigating lentiviral and AAV-based gene therapy for lung inherited diseases disorders, such as surfactant protein B deficiency and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.

Prior to this, I studied animal genetic engineering at the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh. During my PhD project, I utilized CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing to investigate innovative strategies to reduce Influenza A Virus entry in pigs without compromising their immune responses. I obtained my Master’s degree in Animal Embryo Engineering from the Northwest A&F University, China. During my master’s study, I established a sperm-borne small RNA library for cattle and characterized the functional roles of sperm-specific miRNAs in embryo development. My past experience has laid me a solid and broad foundation in clinical veterinary medicine, developmental biology, and animal genetic engineering. As a natural progression, now I am particularly keen on developing novel gene therapy for lung disorders towards a translational pathway.