The Vaccine Research Group at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, works to improve the health of individuals throughout the world by addressing challenges posed by infectious diseases and bioterrorism through clinical, laboratory and epidemiologic vaccine research. Founded in 1989, the group is led by Gregory A. Poland, M.D. (founder), Richard B. Kennedy, Ph.D. and Inna G. Ovsyannikova, Ph.D.

The group conducts National Institutes of Health-funded research investigating the immunogenetics and systems biology of vaccine response and performs research related to novel vaccines and adjuvants in adults and children. The Vaccine Research Group uses immunological testing, including:

  • Serology, cell-mediated immunity, cell culture and cytokine assays
  • Polymerase chain reaction techniques, single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping and human leukocyte antigen typing for immunogenetic studies
  • High-throughput assays, such as next-generation sequencing, transcriptomics, epigenetics and proteomic analysis

About Dr. Poland

Gregory A. Poland, M.D., is the founder of the Vaccine Research Group and an internist in the Division of General Internal Medicine with joint appointments in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, and Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota.

Dr. Poland's research enables the design of new viral vaccines, including SARS-CoV-2, Zika, measles-mumps-rubella, smallpox and influenza vaccines. His aims include protecting public health and better understanding human immune responses at the genetic and immunologic levels through vaccinomics—integration of immunogenetics, systems biology and immune profiling.

About Dr. Kennedy

Richard B. Kennedy, Ph.D., is an immunologist with appointments in the Division of General Internal Medicine and the Department of Immunology. Dr. Kennedy studies the development of immune responses after vaccination with a focus on improving current vaccines, understanding the causes of adverse events, and informing the development of novel vaccines that protect against existing and newly emerging pathogens. His research focuses on viral pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, Zika and influenza, as well as on smallpox, influenza, measles-mumps-rubella and zoster vaccines.

About Dr. Ovsyannikova

Inna G. Ovsyannikova, Ph.D., is an immunologist with an appointment in the Division of General Internal Medicine. Dr. Ovsyannikova studies the genetics of innate and adaptive immune responses to viral and bacterial vaccines. Dr. Ovsyannikova's goal is to contribute to a comprehensive, systems-level understanding of how age, sex and race affect innate and adaptive vaccine-induced immunity. Her interests include vaccine-preventable infectious diseases, particularly the application of mass spectrometry to develop peptide-based vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, Zika, smallpox, measles-mumps-rubella, influenza and agents of bioterrorism.