On March 24, 2023, Keystone Symposia will hosted a live ePanel event featuring the recipients of the Michelson Prizes: Next Generation Grants, an international prize that supports early-career researchers who are applying disruptive concepts and inventive processes to advance human immunology, vaccine discovery, and immunotherapy research. The prize is a collaboration between the Michelson Medical Research Foundation and the Human Immunome Project. Presented since 2017, the $150,000 research grants are awarded annually to encourage and support young investigators from a wide range of disciplines.
The ePanel event showcased the 2022 award recipients Noam Auslander, Romain Guyon, Brittany Hartwell and Jenna Guthmiller, and their groundbreaking work to improve vaccine development. (Read more about their innovative work below) Each presented their award-winning research and participated in a live Q&A panel discussion with the global audience.
Introductory remarks were made by Dr. Gary Michelson, founder and co-chair of Michelson Philanthropies and the Michelson Medical Research Foundation, and Dr. Wayne Koff, president and CEO of the Human Immunome Project.
Watch the event recording below!
Applications for the 2023 Michelson Prizes open on April 3.
For more information, visit:
The 2022 Michelson Laureates
Dr. Auslander is developing an artificial intelligence-based approach to efficiently detect microbial expression in cancer and immune diseases. Her approach outperforms existing strategies and allows the detection of new microbes in human disease tissues, whose expression correlates with patients’ immune responses and disease outcomes. Dr. Auslander’s successful proposal offers a new technique to study the role of microbes in disease immune responses and to ultimately improve both vaccine and immunotherapy development.
Single-dose immunization could provide an effective solution to improving global vaccination coverage and easing the logistical and cost burdens during outbreaks. Mr. Guyon uses a novel microfluidics system to generate biodegradable particles encapsulating the vaccine booster dose to be delivered with the priming vaccine dose in a single injection, delaying the booster release in the body. Mr. Guyon’s successful proposal will assess the utility of this technology using the licensed rabies vaccine for single-visit post-exposure prophylaxis and assess scale-up feasibility to facilitate a first-in-human clinical trial.
To combat the global HIV epidemic and evolving threats such as SARS-CoV-2, immunization strategies are needed that elicit protection at mucosal portals of entry to halt transmission. Immunization directly through airway surfaces is effective in driving mucosal immunity, but poor vaccine uptake across mucosal barriers is a major limitation. Dr. Hartwell’s winning proposal uses a strategy of ‘albumin hitchhiking’ that enables an intranasal vaccine to efficiently bypass mucosal barriers in the nose in order to promote stronger mucosal immunity.
Universal influenza vaccines have the potential to provide broad protection against circulating and emerging influenza viruses. However, the preexisting B cell repertoires that can be stimulated by these vaccines at the site of infection remain uncharted. Dr. Guthmiller’s successful proposal will map the preexisting human B cell repertoire within the draining lymph nodes of the upper and lower respiratory tract that bind and respond to next-generation influenza vaccines. This study will provide a framework of B cell specificities in the respiratory tract to improve mucosal vaccine design.
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