David P. AuCoin
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
University of Nevada School of Medicine
Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology, 2002, University of Nevada, Reno
Mail Stop: 320
Phone: 775-784 4128
Dr. AuCoin has spent nearly 15 years studying a number of pathogenic microbes. Graduate and postdoctoral studies focused on viral replication and egress of Kaposi’s sarcoma associated herpesvirus and human cytomegalovirus. Recently, research in the AuCoin laboratory has focused on developing antibody-based diagnostics and therapeutics.
Two NIH/NIAID funded projects are currently active within the AuCoin laboratory. Both of these projects rely on the identification of secreted or circulating microbial antigens that can be targeted for immunodiagnosis of disease. The AuCoin laboratory has utilized a novel platform technology termed “In vivo Microbial Antigen Discovery” or InMAD to identify such antigens. InMAD is currently identifying candidate diagnostic antigens secreted during infection with Burkholderia pseudomallei (melioidosis), Aspergillus fumigatus (invasive aspergillosis) and Francisella tularensis (tularemia). The capsular polysaccharide (CPS) produced by B. pseudomallei was identified by InMAD as an encouraging diagnostic target. A monoclonal antibody has been produced that is reactive with CPS in patient samples. InBios International has incorporated the CPS specific mAb into a lateral flow immunoassay (LFI), which is currently undergoing pre-clinical testing in endemic areas of Thailand and Australia.
Antibody engineering is another focus of the AuCoin laboratory. Phage display is currently being used to improve affinity of antibodies specific to the capsules of Bacillus anthracis and B. pseudomallei. This has resulted in antibodies that achieve an improved sensitivity in diagnostic assays and possibly increased efficacy when used therapeutically in animal models of disease. In addition, the laboratory is interested in how antibody heavy chain constant domains contribute to antibody affinity. Antibodies with identical variable regions but different constant domains vary substantially in their affinity. The laboratory has engineered recombinant antibodies with identical variable regions and different constant domains to support this hypothesis. The goal is to incorporate a constant domain within a recombinant antibody that will enhance affinity resulting in improved diagnostic or therapeutic efficacy.
AuCoin, D. P., M. D. Sutherland, A. L. Percival, C. R. Lyons, J. A. Lovchik, and T. R. Kozel. 2009. Rapid detection of the poly-g-D-glutamic acid capsular antigen of Bacillus anthracis by latex agglutination. Diagn. Microbiol. Infect. Dis. 64:229-232.
AuCoin, D. P., R. Crump, P. Thorkildson, D. Nuti, J. Lipuma and T. R. Kozel. 2010. Identification of Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) bacteria with a lipopolysaccharide specific monoclonal antibody. J Med Microbiol. Jan; 59:41-7.
Nuti D. E., R. B. Crump, F. Dwi Handayani, N. Chantratita, S. J. Peacock, R. Bowen, P. L. Felgner, D. H. Davies, T. Wu, C. R. Lyons, P. J. Brett, M. N. Burtnick, T. R. Kozel, D. P.
AuCoin. Identification of circulating bacterial antigens by in vivo microbial antigen discovery. mBio. 2011 Aug 16;2 (Editor’s pick).
AuCoin, D.P. In vivo Microbial Antigen Discovery: finding the "needle in the haystack". Expert Rev. Mol. Diagn. 2012. Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2012 Apr;12(3):219-21.
AuCoin, D. P., D. E. Reed, N. L. Marlenee, R. A. Bowen, P. Thorkildson, B. M. Judy, A. G. Torres, T. R. Kozel. Polysaccharide specific monoclonal antibodies provide passive protection against intranasal challenge with Burkholderia pseudomallei. PLoS ONE. 2012 7(4): e35386. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035386