Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Multimeric Display of Peptide Antigens on Nanoparticles in Vaccine Design
Darrell J. Irvine
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that weakens the immune system, leaving patients unable to fight off other diseases. Currently under development, nanoparticle vaccines attempt to stimulate B-cells to produce broadly neutralizing antibodies, which bind to conserved regions of HIV and have the ability neutralize a wide range of HIV variants. Improving nanoparticle vaccines will enhance the immunogenicity of specific HIV epitopes and the elimination of virus particles. My aim is to optimize the display of antigens on the nanoparticle surface by varying the structure of antigenic multimeric peptides, leading to improved immunogenicity and an increase in the potential of nanoparticle vaccines against HIV.
I have always been interested in medical technology that can fight diseases like HIV and cancer. The Koch Institute at MIT is the perfect place for me to both explore this interest and make an impact. I worked in the Irvine Lab as a UROP for IAP and spring of 2015. Building upon my previous work, I will develop a further understanding of immune system intricacies and how to best fight diseases.