Michael Houghton

Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Medical Microbiology and Immunology Dept

Contact

Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Medical Microbiology and Immunology Dept
Email
mhoughto@ualberta.ca
Address
7-126A(C13 Li Ka Shing Centre For Research
8602 112 Street NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2E1

Overview

Area of Study / Keywords

HCV Vaccine Vaccine HCV Transmission


About

Dr. Michael Houghton was the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Virology from 2010-2018 and is the Li Ka Shing Professor of Virology at the University of Alberta where he is also the Director of the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute. He was jointly named the 2020 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine along with Harvey J. Alter and Charles M. Rice in recognition of the discovery of the hepatitis C (HCV) virus.  His research in the field of viral hepatitis has led to improved blood safety, and hepatitis C treatment to the point where the viral infection can now be cured in virtually all patients. He has also been working on a HCV vaccine for the last 30 years in the US & Canada

Born in the United Kingdom, Houghton graduated from the University of East Anglia with a BSc in biological sciences in 1972, and subsequently completed his PhD in biochemistry at King's College, University of London in 1977.

Houghton joined G. D. Searle & Company in the UK studying human intereferon genes before moving to Chiron Corporation in 1982 where, together with colleagues Qui-Lim Choo and George Kuo, and Daniel W. Bradley from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they first discovered  HCV in 1989.  Houghton was co-author of a series of seminal studies published in 1989 and 1990 that identified hepatitis C antibodies in blood, particularly among patients at higher risk of contracting the disease, including those who had received blood transfusions.  This work led to the development of a blood screening test in 1990; widespread blood screening that began in 1992 with the development of a more sensitive test has since virtually eliminated hepatitis C contamination of donated blood supplies in Canada and around the world.

Houghton was recruited to the University of Alberta in 2010 as the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Virology in the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology.  In 2013, Houghton's team at the University of Alberta showed that a vaccine derived from a single strain of Hepatitis C could prevent infection of cell cultures by most global strains of the virus.

Top 5 of Dr. Houghton’s significant contributions:

Discovery of the HDV genome (K-S.Wang et al Nature,1986)

Discovery of HCV & specific diagnostics ( Q-L.Choo et al Science 1989, G.Kuo et al Science 1989)

First demonstration of HCV vaccine efficacy in non-human primates (Q.L.Choo et al PNAS 1994)

First demonstration of broad HCV cross-neutralising antibodies elicited in vaccinated humans ( J.Law et al Plos One 2013 )

Identification of multiple, highly conserved cross-neutralising antibody epitopes in HCV envelope glycoproteins ( J.Wong et al JVI 2014 )

 


Research

Along with Dr. Lorne Tyrrell and a large team of experts within his academic lab and the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute, Dr. Houghton is developing a vaccine against HCV by optimising both the production of cross-neutralising antibodies and cross-reactive cellular immune responses to the many different genotypes of HCV that occur around the world. Clinical trials are expected to be initiated in 2019.His laboratory has also discovered new blood biomarkers associated with autoimmune liver disease which will be tested for clinical diagnostic utility in 2018/9.He is also involved in other programs such as the discovery of new antivirals, anti-cancer agents and inhibitors of fatty liver disease, all incorporating state-of-art computational science allied with biomedical methods.

Here is a link of Dr. Houghton's Recent Publications


Featured Publications

HCV vaccine is effective against viruses escaping broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies

28th International Symposium on Hepatitis C Virus, Flaviviruses, and Related Viruses. Ghent, Belgium. 2022 July;


Robust CD8+ and CD4+ T cell responses with an HCV vaccine adjuvanted with TLR4 agonists

28th International Symposium on Hepatitis C Virus, Flaviviruses, and Related Viruses, Ghent, Belgium. 2022 July;


Scale-up and production of a recombinant Fc-tagged hepatitis C virus glycoprotein E1/E2 antigen for phase 1 clinical trials

28th International Symposium on Hepatitis C Virus, Flaviviruses, and Related Viruses, Ghent, Belgium. 2022 July;


HCV vaccine is effective against viruses escaping broadly neutralising monoclonal antibodies

4th symposium of the Canadian Society for Virology meeting. 2022 June;


Aminpour M., Delgado W.E.M., Wacker S., Noskov S., Houghton M., Tyrrell D.L.J., Tuszynski J.A.

BMC Pharmacology & Toxicology. 2021 October; 22 (1) 10.1186/s40360-021-00519-5


Law J.L.M., Logan M., Joyce M.A., Landi A., Hockman D., Crawford K., Johnson J., LaChance G., Saffran H.A., Shields J., Hobart E., Brassard R., Arutyunova E., Pabbaraju K., Croxen M., Tipples G., Lemieux M.J., Tyrrell D.L., Houghton M.

VACCINE. 2021 August; 10.1016/j.vaccine.2021.08.081


Gindin Y., Chung C., Jiang Z., Zhou J.Z., Xu J., Billin A.N., Myers R.P., Goodman Z., Landi A., Houghton M., Green R.M., Levy C., Kowdley K.V., Bowlus C.L., Muir A.J., Trauner M.

HEPATOLOGY. 2021 March; 73 (3):1105-1116 10.1002/hep.31488