Max Crispin is Director of the Institute for Life Sciences and Professor of Glycobiology at the University of Southampton. Max runs the Glycoprotein Therapeutics Laboratory (within the School of Biological Sciences) which is predominantly focussed on developing anti-viral vaccines and new antibody-based therapies against cancer.
In the Glycoprotein Therapeutics Laboratory we exploit the glycan modifications of proteins in the design of vaccines candidates and glycoprotein-based therapeutics. We have a particular interest in vaccine design against the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and in the development of novel antibody-based cancer therapeutics. This involves understanding how glycans impact on protein and viral function, how they are structured, and how we they can be manipulated for therapeutic applications.
- Viral Glycobiology
- Therapeutic Antibodies
Viral Glycobiology: Our work assisting the development of an HIV vaccine is based on targeting the carbohydrate coat of HIV that shields the virus. We have shown that this shield is different from normal “self” carbohydrates and is remarkably constant despite huge variation in the underlying protein. We also study glycoproteins from a large range of other viruses including influenza and coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2.
Therapeutic Antibodies: Antibodies are incredibly versatile therapeutics and can exhibit both pro- and anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, they are being applied to the treatment of conditions ranging from cancers to autoimmune disorders. Anti-cancer antibodies often rely on the recruitment of the immune system to cancerous cells through a constant region of the antibody termed the Fc region. We have structurally characterized how different glycans can impact on Fc structure and how they can be manipulated to fine-tune antibody effector functions. In addition, we are developing bispecific antibodies and a new approach for enhancing therapeutic antibodies against cancer that involves deactivating competing endogenous antibodies that can limit the potency of anti-cancer antibodies. We are very proud to be sponsored by Against Breast Cancer.
Current PhD Students
External roles and responsibilities
Max Crispin is Director of the Institute for Life Sciences and Professor of Glycobiology at the University of Southampton. Max read Biochemistry at Oriel as an undergraduate and, after doctoral studies at Oxford and Scripps Research, went on to run the Glycoprotein Therapeutics Laboratory within Oxford’s Department of Biochemistry. At Oriel College, he held a variety of roles including as a Tutorial Fellow in Biochemistry, Against Breast Cancer Senior Research Fellow, Senior Dean, and is currently a Supernumerary Fellow. He has also been a Lecturer in Biochemistry at Corpus Christi College.
Max’s laboratory currently operates at the nexus of glycoprotein engineering and glycan analytics and is mainly focussed on the design of antibody therapeutics against breast cancer and in supporting the development of vaccine candidates against viral pathogens, especially HIV.
Max’s laboratory is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the Collaboration for AIDS/Vaccine Discovery, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, the US National Institute of Health, the European Union Horizon 2020 programme, and by Against Breast Cancer. He is Professor Adjunct in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research, California, USA, and was listed by Web of Science as one of the world’s most highly cited researchers for 2019.
- Supernumerary Fellowship at Oriel College, Oxford (2018)
- FRSB (2016)
- FRSC (2020)
- Highly Cited Researcher 2019 (2019)
- Highly Cited Researcher 2022 (2022)
- Highly Cited Researcher 2019 (2022)
- 2023 ASBMB MCP Lectureship Award (2023)