Influenza and adaptive immunity
Conventional vaccines have saved countless lives over the past few centuries, but at present we are facing pathogens against which the conventional strategies fall short. A main objective for the group is therefore to use immunological knowledge for development of improved vaccines.
About the group
The group performs research related to modulation of adaptive immune responses.
Influenza is the key disease model used, and the research includes investigations into both the immunological signatures of vaccine efficacy as well as development of the next generation vaccines against infectious diseases.
Current vaccines are still mostly being developed by the principle established by Edward Jenner in the late 18th century: A less pathogenic version of a virus is injected to protect against the threatening version.
While this principle has proven highly successful in the past, it falls short when aiming for broad protection against highly mutagenic pathogens, or pathogens that have developed mechanisms to thwart the immune system.
Influenza is an example of a variable pathogen where novel vaccine formats are greatly needed for protection of the population.
Every year, seasonal epidemics cause considerable global morbidity and mortality, but the efficacy of conventional vaccines is low. In addition, an antigenic shift may cause a threatening pandemic emergence against which the currently used vaccines are of little relevance.
Thus, it is important to use immunological knowledge for development of efficient vaccines.
A main objective for the group is to study immunological mechanisms behind protective immunity, and use the generated knowledge for development of improved vaccine formats against variable pathogens.
- Development of an HLAII-targeted DNA vaccine that can rapidly be produced to protect against the emergence of an influenza virus with pandemic potential. This project is performed in collaboration with Professor Bjarne Bogen, and includes clinical Phase I testing of a candidate vaccine against influenza H7N9.
- Investigations into the immunological signatures of obesity, and how these influences vaccine efficacy.
- Broadly reactive antibodies against influenza could mediate protection against a range of different influenza subtypes, but their characteristics and mechanisms of action are not yet fully understood. This project examines the characteristics of broadly protective antibodies against influenza, with an aim of developing the next generation vaccines that can offer broad protection against highly variable viruses such as influenza.
- Development of broadly reactive vaccines based on epitope dilution, where a mixture of different antigens is used to promote formation of protective immune responses against shared regions at the expense of more immunodominant epitopes that are specific only for a particular virus antigen. This project is performed in collaboration with Professor Bjarne Bogen.