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

Researchers in this state-of-the-art laboratory seek to understand the genetic drivers of viral vaccine response and investigate issues surrounding novel vaccines important to public health. The Vaccine Research Group has developed the field of viral vaccine immunogenetics, the immune response network theory, and the fields of vaccinomics and adversomics.

About Dr. Poland

Gregory A. Poland, M.D., is an internist 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 measles-rubella-mumps, smallpox and influenza vaccines to protect public health and informs vaccine development against other viral infections.

About Dr. Kennedy

Richard B. Kennedy, Ph.D., studies the development of immune responses after vaccination with a focus on improving current vaccines, understanding the causes of and thereby avoiding vaccine adverse events, and informing the development of novel vaccines that protect against existing and newly emerging pathogens. Dr. Kennedy also serves as a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

About Dr. Ovsyannikova

Inna G. Ovsyannikova, Ph.D., studies the genetics of innate and adaptive immune responses to viral and bacterial vaccines. Her interests include vaccine-preventable infectious diseases, particularly the application of mass spectrometry to develop peptide-based vaccines against smallpox, measles, influenza and agents of bioterrorism. She is also a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.