Rochester, Minnesota


Gregory A. Poland, M.D., studies the immunogenetics of vaccine response in adults and children. Dr. Poland and his team within the Vaccine Research Group aim to improve the health of individuals across the world by pursuing challenges posed by infectious diseases and bioterrorism through clinical, laboratory and epidemiologic vaccine research.

The Vaccine Research Group uses immunological testing, including serology, cell-mediated immunity, cell culture and cytokine assays; polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques and HLA typing for immunogenetic studies; and high-throughput assays, such as next-generation sequencing, transcriptomics, mass spectrometry and proteomic analysis.

Dr. Poland's research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1991.

Focus areas

What is "vaccinomics?"

Coined by Dr. Poland and his team in 2007, the term "vaccinomics" refers to the development of personalized vaccines based on the increased understanding of immune response phenotype-genotype information. Through research, Dr. Poland and his team aim to explain how vaccine-induced immune responses and vaccine-related adverse events may be genetically determined — and therefore predictable.

Active projects:

  • Influenza A and H1N1. This project will provide novel information describing how immune responses to inactivated influenza A and H1N1 vaccine are generated, particularly in older adults. This information is useful in designing new vaccines to control this deadly viral disease.
  • Rubella. This project will develop comprehensive information on the contribution and influence of genetic variants on rubella vaccine-induced immune responses. These data will support a novel paradigm enabling the design of new rubella vaccines to protect public health and could also be used to inform vaccine development against other viral infections.
  • Measles. This project focuses on genes that influence and determine the human immune response to the measles vaccine. This knowledge will allow a better understanding of how measles immunity develops after vaccination and why a range of immune responses occur.
  • Smallpox. This project will focus on identifying individual genetic risk factors, enlarging our understanding of immune mechanisms, and defining biomarkers of risk and immunity that can assist in optimizing the development of new vaccines, diagnostic tests and therapeutics to protect humans from smallpox.

Significance to patient care

Data gleaned from Dr. Poland's research enable the design of new measles, rubella, mumps, smallpox and influenza vaccines to protect public health and could also be used to inform vaccine development against other viral infections.

Professional highlights

  • Recipient, Research Career Achievement Award, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 2011
  • Recipient, MERIT Award, National Institutes of Health, 2011
  • Editor-in-Chief, Vaccine, 2010-present
  • Founder and President, Edward Jenner Society, 2010-present
  • Recipient, Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence, 2008
  • First Recipient, Hsu-Li Distinguished Lectureship in International Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology, University of Iowa, 2007
  • Recipient, Charles Merieux Lifetime Achievement Award in Vaccinology, 2006
  • Mary Lowell Leary Professor in Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 2004
  • Recipient, Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, 2003


Joint Appointment

  1. Consultant, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
  2. Consultant, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Administrative Appointment

  1. Emeritus, Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine
  2. Supplemental, Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine
  3. Supplemental, Department of Immunology, Clinical and Research Laboratories

Academic Rank

  1. Professor of Medicine


  1. Post-Grad - Course work in Clinical Trials, Statistics, Research Design, Epidemiology and Molecular Biology Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science
  2. Chief Resident - Department of Internal Medicine; Internal Medicine Chief Resident Abbott Northwestern Hospital
  3. Fellow - Internal Medicine Abbott Northwestern Hospital
  4. Post-Grad - Department of Internal Medicine; Includes 12 months advanced training in Infectious Diseases. University of Minnesota/Abbott-Northwestern Hospital
  5. Post-Grad - Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation University of Minnesota
  6. MD School of Medicine, Southern Illinois University, Springfield
  7. BA - Biology; Magna Cum Laude Illinois Wesleyan University

Clinical Studies

Learn about clinical trials that address specific scientific questions about human health and disease.

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