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SEMINAR: Prophylaxis and Therapy of Plague


Date: 10 July 2013 | Time: 12.00pm-1.00pm | Venue: GLT3, WMS



Professor Petra Oyston, Biomedical Sciences, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory


Plague has been a scourge of mankind for centuries, and outbreaks continue to the present day. Although antibiotics are available, resistance is emerging in this dangerous pathogen. This presentation will cover some of the virulence mechanisms employed by the aetiological agent Yersinia pestis in the context of the available prophylactic and therapeutic strategies for plague. Therapeutics used in the clinic are discussed and innovative approaches to the design and development of new therapeutic compounds are reviewed. Currently there is no licensed vaccine available for prevention of plague in the UK, and work underway into the development of a safe, effective sub-unit vaccine currently in clinical trials, will be presented.


Prof. Oyston works at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) in the UK, and holds Visiting Professorships at the Universities of Leicester and Southampton. She has extensive experience studying host-pathogen interactions, especially those involving the intracellular bacterial pathogens such as Yersinia pestis and Francisella tularensis. Initially, the focus of her work was the development of vaccines to protect individuals in the event of a biological attack. This work is still ongoing, but there is an increased emphasis on medical treatments which can provide a protective effect against a wide range of organisms, rather than the specific immunity provided by vaccines. To this end, there is research underway to identify targets in biothreat agents that can be inhibited by novel antimicrobial compounds.



Petra Oyston