Antibody technologies

Antibody technologies

Visualisation of SARS-CoV-2 virus
Antibodies are naturally occurring proteins produced by immune cells in response to invading microbes such as viruses. Antibodies bind to foreign proteins, and can be highly specific for a small part of that protein (the antigen).
Antibodies play a crucial role in our immune system’s ability to recognise and fight infections.

The specificity of antibodies makes them an invaluable tool for medical research. Medical researchers use antibodies to help answer fundamental biological questions, for example understanding how specific proteins behave, and to assist in developing new therapies. Antibody-based drugs are in clinical use for diseases including cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.

WEHI has a dedicated Antibody Facility for developing and producing antibody products and supporting antibody-based research. This access to bespoke antibody services enables researchers to advance their projects more rapidly, while expertise from the facility’s experienced team assists in optimising experimental design.

Antibody-based research at WEHI

Our researchers utilise antibodies in several ways, including:

  • To develop antibody-based therapeutics 
  • To detect the presence, absence or amount of a specific protein in a sample
  • To identify where a protein is located in a cell and how it behaves
  • To understand how proteins interact
  • To gain insights that aid drug discovery and development
  • Using single cell and proteomics technologies to produce fully human antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies underpin some of the most commonly used therapeutics for cancer, immune disorders and inflammatory conditions. Monoclonal antibodies can be generated to bind to one specific part of a protein, making them powerful tools for diagnostics and biomedical research.

For researchers with a particular protein of interest, antibodies can be developed that enable the researcher to study the protein in vivo, in vitro, on cell surfaces or within cells. Being able to detect the presence – or amount – of a protein of interest can assist the development of diagnostic tests for certain diseases.


Nanobodies are laboratory-made antibody fragments from camelids or cartilaginous fish that consist of a single heavy chain variable domain. Nanobodies are of interest as both therapeutics and research tools due to their small size, high antigen-binding affinity and their increased stability across temperature and pH range.

To generate nanobodies, our researchers immunise alpacas with a target protein. Nanobody genes from isolated plasma cells of the immunised alpaca are then cloned to produce a nanobody library. Using this library, researchers perform rounds of screening to obtain target-specific nanobodies. The resulting nanobodies are expressed in bacterial systems. 

To inquire about nanobody research platforms please contact Associate Professor Wai-Hong Tham.

Antibody services for researchers

The WEHI Antibody Facility provides antibody services to academic researchers and commercial clients.  

Established in 1991 the facility is staffed by an experienced and multidisciplinary team who work collaboratively with researchers, providing expert advice and versatility in experimental design. The team can develop monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies to novel targets, and adapt and refine protocols to suit researcher requirements.

Core services include:

  • Monoclonal and polyclonal antibody production
  • ELISA assays for quantification of antibody titre
  • Cloning hybridomas by limiting dilution
  • Purification of monoclonal antibodies from hybridoma supernatant
  • IgG Purification from sera
  • Screening of fusion supernatant by ELISA
  • Screening of antibodies using western blots
  • Provision of fusion supernatant to researchers for screening by immunofluorescence and FACS analysis
  • Isotyping of monoclonal antibody supernatants
  • Adaption of cell lines to media suitable for growing in bioreactors
  • In vitro production of monoclonal antibodies using bioreactor technology
  • Monoclonal antibody purification from many, varied bioreactor supernatants
  • Conjugation of monoclonal antibodies (FITC, Pacific Blue, APC, HRP, Biotin, Alexafluors)
  • Antibody production: 1-10 mg, 10-50 mg, 50-500 mg
  • Thawing, culturing and preparing cell freezings for shipping or long-term storage
  • Mycoplasma testing of cell lines
  • Endotoxin testing of cell lines
  • Treatment of cell lines contaminated with endotoxin
  • Analysing antibodies using Octet

An extensive repository of purified antibodies is available and can be conjugated to meet specific researcher requirements.

To inquire about services and prices, please contact:

Kaye Wycherley, Head, Antibody Services
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute Biotechnology Centre
4 Research Ave, LaTrobe University, Bundoora 3086
P +61 3 9345 2286
F +61 3 9345 2211


Professor Ian Wicks

Ian Wicks
Joint Division Head, Laboratory Head

Ms Kaye Wycherley

Ms Kaye Wycherley
Laboratory Head
Super Content: 
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