The route by which a vaccine is administered and the type of adjuvant used, might ultimately determine the immune status of the host and the effectiveness of the vaccine. We are studying non-traditional vaccine routes and novel adjuvants for new or existing vaccines. Specifically, we are investigating the immune responses elicited after vaccine delivery by mucosal (oral, nasal, rectal/vaginal), systemic or transdermal routes. The phenotype and traffic of APCs, such as dendritic cells, are based on the intrinsic characteristics of the antigen and adjuvant, and as such, the APCs selectively prime effector T and B lymphocytes. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms involved in the generation of the responses has profound implications for the rational design of efficacious vaccines. Some of our current projects involved the preclinical development and evaluation of potential vaccines against bacterial enteropathogens (E. coli), biowarfare agents (Bacillus anthracis) and fungal pathogens (Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans).
Another interest in our laboratory is the use of immunostimulatory agents such as adjuvants or Toll-like receptor ligands as prophylaxis to activate non-specific immune responses against respiratory pathogens. We are currently testing several immunostimulating prophylactic strategies for the prevention of viral and fungal infections.
- Host-parasite interactions
- Vaccines against fungal infections
- Molecular mechanisms of adjuvanticity