Vaccines often fail because they 1) lack the correct antigen and 2) they don’t induce a sufficient immune response. To address these gaps, the Vaccine R&D Center utilizes its full proteome microarray platform to discover better vaccine antigens, capability in novel adjuvants synthesis (TLR agonists, multi-TLR agonist conjugates, inflammasome activators etc.) and nanoparticulate microsphere formulation construction to boost immune responses.
Discovering top antigens from protein microarray platform
Combining multiple antigens
Using toll-like receptor agonists (well characterized, less toxic, safer synthetic ligands available )
Designing better TLR agonist adjuvants through conjugation chemistry
Other adjuvants, such as inflammasone activators
Nanoparticle delivery systems
Constructing an assortment of nanoparticulate and biodegradable microsphere formulations, such as liposome, emulsion, virus-like particles, with different physical properties that release antigen and TLR agonists at different rates.
Designing nanoparticles to target antigen to the draining lymph node for improved vaccine efficacy.
Our vaccine formulation approaches on Coxiella burnetti have generated promising outcomes enhancing antigen specific T cell recall responses, eliciting long lasting antigen specific humoral responses, and reducing bacterial load post challenge when using multivalent antigens and TLR agonists.
Novel TLR agonists formulated in liposomes, nanoparticles and microspheres will be synthesized in the chemistry department. Vaccine formulations will be developed and characterized in the Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, and Chemistry Departments. Advanced immunoimaging resources in our Stem Cell Research Center will be used to determine bioavailability and track delivery of vaccine into the draining lymph node. Immunogenicity studies will be conducted in the Institute for Immunology and Flow Cytometry Facility.
Additionally, we have access to UCI’s certified BSL3 animal facility that has been registered with the Select Agent program for over 10 years and houses the National training Center for Select Agent Research.
The confocal fluorescence microscopy image illustrates the successful nanoparticle construction where GFP is conjugated to the APC-labeled polystyrene bead via proprietary linking technology.