While no disease prevention approach is more broadly powerful than immunization, few vaccines, especially those of defined composition, ever reach the public. The re-emergence of communicable illnesses like pertussis, the emergence of new infectious diseases and the specter of bioterrorism, underscore the importance for expeditiously moving immunogens out of the laboratory and into the realm of public health. Most immunogens fail as vaccines due to problems in formulation, stabilization and delivery. Beyond immunogen discovery, vaccine creation requires: a) physical and chemical analysis of the antigen;b) formulation to maximize stability and immunogenic potential (e.g., adjuvant use);and c) characterization and optimization of delivery. This path often entails excessive trial and error with delays at each step and a high failure rate. We propose the concept of vaccinogenesis, which is the collective process of creating vaccines from candidate immunogens. By requiring insights that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries, vaccine development has long been an art as much as a science. The process is inherently interdisciplinary and employs biochemistry, pharmacology, immunology, biology, and biophysics in conjunction with complicated logical and empirical analyses. We propose to develop an approach we call Multidimensional Vaccinogenesis, which covers the steps between immunogen discovery and clinical testing. Multidimensional Vaccinogenesis must evolve from a new generation of professionals trained to be multilingual in that they can communicate in the languages of biochemistry, biology, mathematics and physics. We outline a means to prepare this new generation of scientists. The goals of this Graduate Training Program are: 1) develop a research and training environment that is interdisciplinary and targets the important issues faced in the genesis of useable vaccines;and 2) generate a culture that practices the diverse languages of interdisciplinary research as the means for exploring problems in vaccine development. These goals will be accomplished by building upon existing interdisciplinary collaborations. We will then further develop a curriculum that combines the biology and biophysics of vaccinogenesis with quantitative methods and data management. The expected outcome is the development of a new generation of vaccinologists who can efficiently contribute to improved public health domestically, abroad, and in the arena of biodefense.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Microbiology and Infectious Diseases B Subcommittee (MID)
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Mcsweegan, Edward
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University of Kansas Lawrence
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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