Project focus areas that are being studied in the Virology, Vector and Vaccine Engineering Lab include:

  • Gene therapy for muscular dystrophy. Researchers are studying vector targeting and detargeting to improve the pharmacology of both adenovirus and adeno-associated virus vectors for muscle gene therapy. The team is currently focused on expressing dysferlin for dysferlinopathies.
  • Gene therapy for propionic acidemia. The lab's team is testing gene therapy for this metabolic genetic disease.
  • Metabolic biotinylation. Dr. Barry and his team are developing metabolic biotinylation technologies that target any cell type using one or more vector platforms.
  • Vector targeting and purification. Investigators in the lab are studying how modified vectors fail, how the affinity of the ligands affects this process, and how one might use or avoid this biology to maximize vector specificity.
  • Biotinylated vectors as ligand screening platforms. Dr. Barry and the team are using metabolic biotinylated vector technology to prescreen ligands on various targeting models.
  • Biotin tags as cryo-EM tags. The team is studying capsomers and applying cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) tags to better understand the biology of native and engineered cell-targeting viruses.
  • Models for cell targeting. The lab is directing ligand and vector targeting efforts against several cell targets, selected for distinct biological and pharmacological issues.
  • Mucosal vaccines. The team is testing approaches to maximize antigen delivery to mucosal surfaces and developing mucosal vaccines against HIV-1, influenza and bioweapons.
  • Oncolytic adenovirus for cancer therapy. The lab is studying specific oncolytic adenoviruses targeting breast cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, myeloma and cancer stem cells.
  • Polymer shielding of vectors and vaccines. Testing polyethylene glycol and other polymers are tested for their shielding and protective functions for liver gene therapy, cancer gene therapy and during vaccination.
  • Optical imaging to track ligands. The lab's team is applying optical imaging approaches that can be utilized for gene therapy or vaccine and cancer projects.
  • Adenovirus vaccine platform. A promising single-cycle adenovirus vaccine platform co-developed by Dr. Barry can amplify targeting efforts in multiple infectious diseases and cancer.