Professor Ed Rybicki

Ed Rybicki is a plant virologist by training, and a biotechnologist and vaccinologist by funding circumstances. He is a Professor in Microbiology in the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology at the University of Cape Town, and Director of the Biopharming Research Unit (BRU) since 2013.

He has extensive experience in molecular virology and virus diversity studies with plant and human and animal viruses, which led to his working with a number of vaccine and expression system platforms. These include novel self-replicating DNA vaccines, derived from experience with plant geminiviruses, and transient plant expression and insect cell / baculovirus systems. His group’s work in producing candidate vaccine antigens includes HIV-1C Gag- and Env-derived proteins, HPV capsid and other antigens, human rotavirus and bluetongue virus and avian Beak and feather disease virus capsid proteins, avian and human influenza virus haemagglutinins, and papillomavirus pseudovirions. The group has produced enzymes for molecular biology / diagnostics, as well as single chain variable region monoclonal antibodies in plants. He has published around 190 papers in peer-reviewed journals and is a named inventor on 17 patent families, mainly concerned with plant-made candidate vaccines. Several of these are currently licenced by biotechnology companies. He has trained 23 PhD students and 10+ postdocs, and is presently, with two senior professional scientists in the BRU, actively engaged in training 5 postdocs, and 6 PhD and 6 MSc students.