Justin J. Taylor, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases and resident member of the Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research was awarded two NIH R01 grants in 2022 for $2.5 million that transferred with his lab when the relocated to the University of Virginia in August 2023 from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. These R01s are a collaborative effort with Jen Adair, PhD, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center to develop an alternative to vaccination for infections for which protective vaccines do not exist, or for people who are immunocompromised and cannot mount a protective response to approved vaccines.
Previous to these awards, Dr. Taylor developed an approach to replace the antibodies expressed by B cells naturally with highly protective antibodies using CRISPR/Cas9 that was published in 2019 in Science Immunology. A limitation of this published approach is that B cells needed to be removed from the body to allow for genetic engineering, which is body expensive and not possible to do in resource limited regions of the world. Dr. Taylor has begun collaborating with Dr. Adair to develop a nanoparticle able to engineer B cells in the body after injection. The successful completion of this project would result in an approach where B cells could be rapidly engineered to produce antibodies protective against HIV, influenza, SARS-CoV-2, or virtually any deadly infection with a single injection of nanoparticles.
Filed Under: Research