Development of virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines
Finland (FiMSIC) - University of Tampere, Tampere
Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences
Tapio Visakorpi
Vesa Hytönen
8 weeks
Cities/Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Augt Sep Oct Nov Dec
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Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
This project accepts 4 weeks and 8 weeks exchanges. Vaccines are success stories of modern medicine. They enable prevention of infectious diseases but have also potential for treatment/prevention of other diseases. Therefore, vaccine research is multidisciplinary field, and there is room for innovation and novel ideas about potential vaccination tools and targets. Enteroviruses are among the most common human pathogens and they are associated with several severe diseases, including myocarditis and type 1 diabetes. We develop virus-like particle (VLP) -based enterovirus vaccines to offer safe alternative to traditional inactivated viruses.
What is the aim of the project?
We aim to develop vaccines against enteroviruses, rotaviruses and noroviruses. In the case of enterovirus, We aim to develop vaccines against enteroviruses, rotaviruses and noroviruses. In the case of enterovirus, the linkage between enterovirus infections and type 1 diabetes makes it highly fascinating topic.
What techniques and methods are used?
Proteins used as antigens are produced as recombinant proteins and purified using a combination of methods, including chromatography, tangential flow filtration and ultracentrifugation. Proteins (monomeric proteins or virus-like particles) are studied using electrophoresis, dynamic light scattering, spectroscopic methods and electron microscopy. Cell assays are used to verify their biological activity and biocompatibility. Animal models (mainly mice and zebrafish) are used for studying their potential as vaccines.
What is the role of the student?
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student will obtain training to participate wet lab experiments and interpretation of the results. The student will report the findings made to supervisor and communicate them in research group meetings. The techniques utilized may include some or all of the following methods: cell culturing using mammalian and/or insect cells, preparation of expression vectors (baculoviruses or plasmids), purification of proteins using chromatographic methods and with tangential flow filtration, analysis of purified proteins using SDS-PAGE (sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis), Western blotting and dynamic light scattering, and functional analysis of the purified proteins using methods such as ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay. The laboratory work is performed using high standards, aiming for materials suitable for preclinical studies.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
Student may participate the seminars organized 1-2 x month + participate the meetings of the research group (2x month)
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a scientific report
- The student’s name will be mentioned in a future publication
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
It would be important to have some basics training in biochemical methods and/or cell culture methods.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
- Pre-Medical students from the American-British system
- A Coxsackievirus B vaccine protects against virus-induced diabetes in an experimental mouse model of type 1 diabetes. Stone VM; Hankaniemi MM; Svedin E; Sioofy-Khojine A; Oikarinen S; Hyöty H; Laitinen OH; Hytönen VP; Flodström-Tullberg M. Diabetologia. 2018 Feb;61(2):476-481. doi: 10.1007/s00125-017-4492-z.
- Optimized production and purification of Coxsackievirus B1 vaccine and its preclinical evaluation in a mouse model. Hankaniemi MM; Laitinen OH; Stone VM; Sioofy-Khojine A; Määttä JAE; Larsson PG; Marjomäki V; Hyöty H; Flodström-Tullberg M; Hytönen VP. Vaccine. 2017 Jun 27;35(30):3718-3725. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.05.057.