Professor Julian Ma
Professor Julian Ma is the Hotung Chair of Molecular Immunology and Director of the Institute for Infection and Immunity at St. George’s, University of London. Julian graduated in dentistry at Guy’s Hospital in 1983, and went on there to gain his PhD in immunology, studying topical anti-microbial immunotherapy in the mouth, using monoclonal antibodies. He was a post-doctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California in the laboratory which pioneered the expression of recombinant antibodies in genetically modified plants. On his return to the UK, his research group developed the first monoclonal secretory antibody expressed in plants and its clinical applications in preventing tooth decay.
He moved to St. George’s in 2003 to explore the wider applications of plant biotechnology for global infectious diseases. His research group now studies basic mechanisms of protein assembly, processing and expression in plant cells, as well as the design, engineering and clinical applications of novel recombinant proteins in plants for systemic and mucosal vaccination and immunotherapy. His work focuses on infectious diseases that predominantly affect the poor in developing countries, including HIV, rabies, chikungunya, dengue, Ebola and TB. Julian is a leading proponent in Europe for the development of plant biotechnology for medicines for human health and has led several major European research consortia, notably performing the first ever clinical safety trial in humans of an HIV antibody produced in tobacco plants.