Preclinical evaluation of novel meningococcal vaccines
Neisseria meningitidis (Nme) is a bacterial pathogen that often colonizes the upper respiratory tract of humans without symptoms, but which may also develop into rapidly-progressing sepsis and meningitis that can be fatal. Nme has evolved elegant means to specifically interact with human cells and proteins in order to colonize, survive and the evade host immune system. In partnership with Vaxiron Inc., we are developing a novel class of vaccines that target systems involved in Nme acquisition of the essential micronutrient, iron, during infection. The goal of this program is to perform pre-clinical studies using humanized mouse models to evaluate the potential of these novel vaccines to elicit an immune response that can protect against invasive infection and prevent nasal carriage.