S.B. Chemical-Biological Engineering, Biology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2012)
Highly conserved pathogen proteins are essential for broadly cross-protective vaccines, but tend to be poorly immunogenic. Protein nanoparticle vaccines made from conserved influenza matrix protein 2 and hemagglutinin trigger specific, adaptive immune responses that soluble protein cannot. Without excipients or adjuvants, protein nanoparticles eliminate the possibility of off-target immune responses, and their abiotic nature makes them amenable to cold chain-independent storage and use. The mechanisms by which protein nanoparticles enhance component protein immunogenicity are still not well understood. Protein nanoparticles will be made from hen egg ovalbumin and influenza proteins to examine dendritic cell responses in vitro and adaptive immune responses in vivo. The goals of this project are two-fold: to understand the immunological basis behind protein nanoparticle adjuvancy, and to improve this adjuvancy with studies into nanoparticle stability, enhancing endosomal buffering, and molecular adjuvants as nanoparticle coatings. This project aims to assess the viability of protein nanoparticles as a vaccine delivery platform.