The Vaccine Research Group at Mayo Clinic has current research projects on influenza and measles, mumps and rubella vaccines, as well as projects on peptide-based vaccines and the Zika virus.


Bioinformatics approach to influenza A/H1N1 vaccine immune profiling

This project provides novel information describing how immune responses to inactivated influenza A and H1N1 vaccine are generated. This information is useful in designing new vaccines to control this deadly viral disease.

See Vaccine Research Group publications related to influenza.

Evaluation of the humoral immune response in early-stage CLL and MBL

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common leukemia in the Western world. Its precursor state of monoclonal B cell lymphocytosis (MBL) affects more than 5 percent of adults over age 60. This study aims to characterize and compare the humoral immune response to trivalent influenza vaccine among people with MBL and CLL. This study is the first characterization of vaccine responses in the MBL population and the most detailed characterization of the humoral immune response to influenza vaccine in the CLL population.

Identification of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II influenza-derived peptides

This study uses mass spectrometry techniques that the Vaccine Research Group has developed, optimized and validated to identify, sequence and test naturally processed and presented influenza peptides relevant to human viral vaccine design. The overall objective of this study is to expand the understanding of immune responses to viral agents of mass destruction and identify vaccine antigens that can protect against them.

Application of nanotechnology for developing the next generation of influenza A/H5N1 peptide-based vaccines

This collective project, done in collaboration with the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, provides new knowledge for the immunogenicity of adjuvanted influenza A/H5N1-derived peptides necessary for the development of new and more effective vaccines. By using the influenza A/H5N1 vaccine and by examining peptides that are naturally processed and presented within the context of HLA-A*0201 molecules and conjugated to lipoprotein-based nanoparticles, data obtained on influenza A/H5N1-specific immunogenic peptides helps inform the development of new vaccines against avian and other novel influenza types.


The immunogenetics of measles immunity

This project focuses on genes that influence and determine the human immune response to the measles vaccine. This knowledge allows for a better understanding of how measles immunity develops after vaccination and why a range of immune responses occurs.

See Vaccine Research Group publications related to measles.

Innate immune function in older adults

This project, funded by the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging at Mayo Clinic, focuses on the interaction between influenza vaccination and inflammasomes and the impact of senescence — the condition or process of deterioration with age — on this interaction, along with the subsequent adaptive immune response to the influenza virus.

Systems biology assessment of influenza A/H1N1 vaccination in an Indian cohort

This project, done in collaboration with the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India, focuses on developing innovative immune profile signatures that explain and predict interindividual variations in immune responses to influenza A/H1N1 vaccines specifically and viral vaccines generally. Another important goal is to compare and contrast immunological and transcriptomic profiles after influenza vaccination in the Caucasian and Indian populations. The use of these two populations allows comparison of subjects with preexisting immunity due to natural infections versus immunity due to vaccination.

The effect of influenza A vaccination on miRNA expression and immune outcome

The goal of this study is to identify key miRNAs involved in influenza vaccine responses, as well as the genes and pathways targeted by these specific miRNAs. These data may provide the biomarkers that can predict immune response and serve as correlates of protection. The group's findings serve as a foundation for more detailed and mechanistic studies into the functional relevance of the identified miRNAs.

Translating the discovery of immunogenic measles peptides into a candidate vaccine

The Vaccine Research Group has identified 13 naturally processed HLA-DRB1*03-restricted measles peptides. The current live-virus measles vaccine is highly effective and widely used; however, outbreaks among vaccinated individuals continue to occur. Difficulties encountered with the current vaccine include preexisting maternal antibodies that suppress response to the vaccine, cold chain requirements for vaccine viability, contraindicated use in immunocompromised individuals and the requirement for trained health care providers to administer the vaccine. The group's ability to identify critical measles epitopes is a significant step in developing a safe and effective peptide-based measles vaccine that circumvents these issues related to vaccine failure.

See Vaccine Research Group publications related to measles and peptides.


Immunogenetic mechanisms of rubella vaccine response

This project develops comprehensive information on the contribution and influence of genetic variants in rubella vaccine-induced immune responses. These data 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.

See Vaccine Research Group publications related to rubella.


Genetic variants associated with smallpox vaccine immune response heterogeneity

This project focuses on identifying individual risk factors, enlarging the 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.

See Vaccine Research Group publications related to smallpox.