Determination of stress-induced modifications to vaccine proteins by mass spectrometry

The therapeutic effect of a vaccine depends on its chemical composition, and in particular the integrity of its protein components. Conditions under which a vaccine is manufactured and stored can damage the proteins it contains; however, since proteins are structurally complex and reactive, their degradation during routine handling is unpredictable. In the project described here, three candidate vaccine products will be subjected to models of manufacture and storage in order to induce chemical changes within them in a controlled manner. Subsequent to this treatment, chemical changes in the vaccine proteins will be measured using advanced analytical instrumentation. The intent of this experimentation is to identify, and ultimately mitigate, the chemical basis of vaccine efficacy loss. This partnership will leverage expertise in vaccine development at Sanofi Pasteur and expertise in protein analysis at York University. An understanding of the changes that occur within vaccines under defined handling conditions will inform better production and storage practices.

Gwillym Declan Williams
Faculty Supervisor: 
Alan Hopkinson