Email: Peter Beernink
Phone: 510-450-7970

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An Overview

Dr. Beernink’s laboratory is focused on developing improved vaccines for prevention of disease caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis.  This microbe causes meningitis and bloodstream infections with high fatality rates and produces permanent damage in many survivors.  Dr. Beernink’s research includes genetic, biochemical and immunological studies of meningococcal surface antigens, including factor H-binding protein (Figure 1).  This protein is important for virulence because it recruits complement factor H to the bacterial surface, which enables the bacteria to evade host immunity.

Figure 1. Structure of factor H-binding protein (bottom) in a complex with a fragment of human factor H (top) based on Protein Data Bank entry 2W80 [Schneider et al., 2009. Nature, 458: 890].  The two proteins were separated along the vertical axis to show the respective contact surfaces (color).  The figure was generated with MacPyMol (


Revised: Wednesday, August 26, 2015 3:15 PM


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