Advisor: Dr. Julie Champion, ChBE (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Dr. Mark Prausnitz, ChBE (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Dr. Krishnendu Roy, BME(Georgia Institute of Technology)
Dr. Jennifer Leavey, Biology (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Dr. Baozhong Wang, (Georgia State University)
Protein Nanoparticle Vaccines
Highly conserved pathogen proteins are ideal components for broadly cross-protective vaccines, but tend to be poorly immunogenic. The presence of particulates in a vaccine has been known for more than 100 years to enhance a vaccine’s efficacy, yet only in recent decades has rational nanoparticle vaccine design emerged from advances in our understanding of immunology. While most vaccine nanoparticles seek to encapsulate or coat antigen onto particles, protein nanoparticles are made entirely of crosslinked antigen. This form of nanoparticulate antigen does not require the addition of stabilizing additives, and the nanoparticle is both the antigen and the immunostimulatory adjuvant. The objectives of this thesis are to (1) translate our initial immunization successes with conserved influenza protein M2e protein nanoparticles into other types influenza antigen nanoparticles, (2) understand the mechanism of nanoparticle adjuvancy, (3) explore extended storage of nanoparticle vaccines for the possibility of cold chain-independent storage, and (4) test the ability of molecular adjuvant coatings to boost protein nanoparticle immunogenicity.