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In the Spotlight...

Bryce Chackerian, Ph.D.

Bryce Chackerian Bryce Chackerian, Ph.D.
Professor and Vice-Chair
Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
Member, Comprehensive Cancer Center
Member, Center for Infectious Disease and Immunity
The University of New Mexico

2017 RAINFOREST INNOVATION FELLOW

As a 2017 Innovation Fellow, Dr. Chackerian is recognized as a pioneering innovator in developing the next generation of vaccines for viruses, pathogens and chronic diseases and a dedicated mentor to the next generation of vaccine researchers. Dr. Chackerian has been working on vaccine development using nanoparticle-based platforms for over 20 years. The overall aim of his work is to develop simple, effective vaccines that make an impact on human health worldwide.

Dr. Chackerian has collaborated closely with Dr. David Peabody, his co-Innovation Fellow awardee and an expert in the structure and function of bacterial viruses, to construct virus-like particles (VLPs) from RNA bacteriophages in order to develop an innovative vaccine platform technology. VLPs are highly immunogenic and can be used as versatile vaccine platforms for diverse infectious and non-infectious diseases. In addition, the bacteriophage (viruses that infect bacteria) VLPs can be produced at high yields and are very adaptable to protein engineering.

The two inventors are the perfect partners in what has turned out to be an incredibly productive collaboration. Using the VLP platform, Dr. Chackerian is developing new vaccine candidates for the human papillomavirus (next-generation, universal HPV vaccine), the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Neisseria, Chlamydia, malaria (blood- and liver-stage vaccines), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Staphylococcus aureus (including the antibiotic-resistant MRSA strains), influenza virus, and opioid addiction. In addition, he has pioneered the use of VLP display to target self-antigens that are involved in chronic diseases, including molecules that control cholesterol & triglyceride metabolism and mediate the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Chackerian and Dr. Peabody co-founded the New Mexico-based company Agilvax in 2011 to commercialize their vaccine technology.

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