Vaccinology is an interdisciplinary field of science and medicine dedicated to the development, study, and implementation of vaccines. The discipline encompasses a wide range of activities, from basic research in immunology and microbiology to vaccine design, clinical testing, regulatory approval, and vaccination programs.
A desirable strong B-cell response is particularly induced by protein vaccines in many cases. Because large-scale production of protein-based vaccines is challenging, further optimization is required to enable lower doses that efficiently and persistently activate germinal centers in lymph nodes. These further developments include multimerization of antigens for better activation of immature precursor B cells, modification for improved transport (DC targeting) to the lymph node, and improved uptake into the lymph node (glycosylation, co-administration with lectins/antibodies). Furthermore, bi- or multifunctional antigens can provide more potent responses through enhanced T-cell help.
In our group, we develop concepts for modern reversed vaccinology approaches focusing on protein vaccines as well as optimized formulation and delivery systems. Recently we have adapted such approaches to emerging pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 and Borna disease virus 1.