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Vaccine Development

Zoonotic infectious diseases impact human health and curtail food production nationally and internationally. The vaccine research focus aims to lower the threat to humans from animal infectious reservoirs and increase food production by developing novel vaccination strategies for animals, and by generating tools that increase the resolution of their immune responses. The Baldwin Laboratory is a key member of the USA Veterinary Immune Reagents Network and works closely with partner organizations in Europe to produce monoclonal antibodies specific for leukocyte populations and sub-populations in ruminants, their effector molecules, immunoregulatory molecules and receptors including the WC1 co-receptor family of γδ T cells, whose members bind antigen and amplify signaling through the T cell antigen-specific receptor thus ensuring optimal γδ T cell activation. γδ T cells are currently underexploited in targeted vaccine design, despite responding almost immediately like innate immune effectors, displaying a broad reactivity that is not easily evaded by pathogen mutation and having immunological memory. The Telfer and Baldwin labs are working together to resolve the complexity of the WC1 locus in domestic animals and to identify WC1-ligands on pathogens such as Mycobacteria (tuberculosis), Leptospira (leptospirosis) and Borrelia (Lyme disease) that can be used to generate effective broad-spectrum vaccines. The Black and Baldwin laboratories also focus on mechanisms of immunity and immunopathology to specific zoonotic diseases, particularly African Trypanosomiasis and Brucellosis. A novel natural killer cell-mediated lymphocyte destructive axis has emerged from the trypanosomiasis studies, which is being targeted by an anti-pathology vaccine. The Webley lab is using a unique, naturally produced, gas vesicle nanoparticle (GVNP) platform designed to display and deliver antigens of vaccine interest. They are currently focused on the display of genus specific chlamydial antigens to mitigate both human oculogenital and respiratory diseases as well as animal chlamydiosis, a constant problem of animal reproductive health. GVNP have the potential to display and deliver any antigen.

 

Vaccine Development

Contact Info

Cynthia Baldwin, Veterinary and Animal Sciences
(413) 545-3167
cbaldwin@vasci.umass.edu

Sam Black, Veterinary and Animal Sciences
(413) 545-2573
sblack@vasci.umass.edu

Wilmore Webley, Microbiology
(413) 577-3139
Wilmore@microbio.umass.edu