Concordia vaccine researchers will share test results from a promising vaccine candidate at a national science symposium this month in Boston.
Mark Schlotterback ’13, Billings, Mont., and Phillip Comella ’13, Hartland, Wis., will join Dr. Jennifer Bath, assistant professor of biology, in announcing their research data.
The two are among a dozen students who are working alongside Bath in vaccine research.
Bath says the vaccine has been tested two times in pre-clinical trials. A third and more comprehensive trial will begin next month. The emphasis of her research team is assessing the treatment and prevention of neglected tropical diseases.
“We have a candidate that is showing high levels of protection against hookworm,” says Bath.
Schlotterback and Comella have helped identify a protein that is secreted only by hookworms. From there, they studied computer models to determine the most unique stimulates and to analyze the basic function of this particular protein.
“This data is what we’ll be presenting,” says Comella, who will be the first Concordia student to earn a minor in vaccinology.
Schlotterback, who has worked with Bath for three years and traveled with her to Bangladesh to gather field data, says this process has been a rare opportunity for undergraduates.
“This is the second national conference where we’ll present our work,” he says. “I love the problem-solving nature of this research and the applicability of finding a potential new vaccine.”
One potential outcome of Bath’s research is to select vaccines that might be transferred to commercial biotech industries for manufacture and distribution to developing nations.
The project’s co-inquirer is Dr. Joseph Provost from Minnesota State University Moorhead’s biochemistry department.