James (Jim) S. Huston, Ph.D., (1945-2020) was a pioneering and visionary antibody engineer; his invention of the single chain Fv (sFv or scFv) antibody was a seminal advance. These genetically encoded molecules could express the vast diversity of antibody repertoires, be used for specific target binding by themselves, incorporated into multifunctional molecules, attached to cell surfaces, or applied in any number of formats relevant to biomedicine. Over the years scFvs became a staple in the antibody field enabling many critical advances.
Jim was one of the first scientists to recognize the long-term potential of antibody engineering and the broad scope of its applications. Those who had the privilege of interacting with him, benefitted greatly not only from his generosity, enthusiasm, intellectual rigor and encouragement, but also from his willingness to share his wisdom and experience. Jim was passionate about disseminating knowledge and education. He served as a scientific advisor to the Antibody Engineering and Therapeutics meetings for three decades and was editor of the annual Protein Engineering, Design and Structure (PEDS) special issue on antibodies. His insistence on scientific quality and education helped stimulate the culture of knowledge sharing between academia, industry and policy makers that is unique to our field. Building on this, he co-founded The Antibody Society in 2007 and was the Founding President and Chairman, remaining an active Board Member until his death. He shared the gratification of many that after a long gestation, antibody engineering and therapeutics are proving so beneficial to human health with the promise of much more to come.
The James S. Huston Antibody Science Talent Award
The James S. Huston Antibody Science Talent Award is sponsored by The Antibody Society to recognize and encourage upcoming scientists in the field of Antibody Engineering and Therapeutics. Early career research scientists, i.e., those within 10 years of their most recent advanced degree (Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent), are eligible for the Award. The scientist is recognized for making important contributions to the antibody field and/or the dissemination of antibody knowledge. Eligibility of the nominee will be checked at time of nomination and before presentation of award.
Nominations will be accepted commencing June 1, 2024 and must be submitted by September 15, 2024. The winner will be selected by September 30th, and the Award will be presented in December.
The recipient will be invited to give a live webinar on their work, which will be made available on demand on The Antibody Society’s website (https://www.antibodysociety.org), and to give a lecture at the Antibody Engineering & Therapeutics conference in December. The award includes international recognition of the scientist’s accomplishments, a $1500 USD prize, and travel costs and registration fees to attend the annual Antibody Engineering and Therapeutics conference in San Diego, California.
The 2023 James S. Huston Antibody Science Talent Award recipient
Dr. Heather J. Bax is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at St John’s Institute of Dermatology, King’s College London. She trained at GlaxoSmithKline as an industrial placement and undergraduate project student supporting drug discovery for asthma and allergic inflammation. She completed her PhD in Professor Hannah Gould’s laboratory, King’s College London, focusing on the interaction between IgE antibodies and mast cells in the context of allergic diseases.
As a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Professor Sophia Karagiannis’ laboratory, King’s College London, Dr. Bax undertook multidisciplinary research on the ground-breaking preclinical development of the first-in-class IgE antibody, MOv18 IgE, for the treatment of folate receptor alpha (FRα)-expressing ovarian cancers. In this role, she established and implemented several clinical trial assays to support the now successfully completed first-in-man, Phase 1 clinical trial of MOv18 IgE (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02546921). She also led the preclinical studies of CSPG4 IgE, another IgE therapeutic candidate targeting melanoma.
Dr. Bax currently supports a translational research program funded by the King’s College London spinout Epsilogen Ltd (formerly IGEM Therapeutics Ltd.), the first immuno-oncology company focusing on IgE immunotherapies for cancer. Leading a team of two postdoctoral researchers and working closely with colleagues at Epsilogen Ltd., she oversees several research studies focusing on the next generation of IgE-based antibodies for the treatment of solid tumors.
For further information about the nomination process, please visit the award criteria page.
Learn about the 2022 recipient, Brandon DeKosky.
What is it like to win? Our 2022 Huston Award recipient, Prof. Brandon DeKosky, describes his experience in this 2-min video.
Learn about the 2021 recipient, Laura M. Walker.
Learn about the 2020 recipient, Jonathan Sockolosky.