Self-amplifying mRNA vaccines
Self-amplifying mRNA vaccines are being developed as a platform technology with potential to be used for a broad range of targets. Synthetic production methods for their manufacture, combined with the modern tools of bioinformatics and synthetic biology, enable these vaccines to be produced rapidly from an electronic gene sequence. Non-viral delivery of these novel mRNA vaccines means that issues of anti-vector immunity are avoided and potent immune responses are elicited at low doses of the nucleic acid. Preclinical proof of concept has so far been achieved for influenza, RSV, rabies, CMV, and HIV. Like other types of nucleic acid vaccines, these vaccines have the potential to draw on the positive attributes of live-attenuated vaccines while obviating many potential safety limitations. Hence, this approach could enable the concept of vaccines on demand as a rapid response to a real threat rather that the deployment of strategic stockpiles based on epidemiological predictions of a possible threat.
Dr. Andy Geall
Vice President of Formulations and Chemistry, Avidity Biosciences
Andrew J. Geall is the Vice President of Formulations and Chemistry at Avidity Biosciences in La Jolla, CA. He has undergraduate degrees in Chemical Engineering and Pharmacy and completed his Ph.D. in gene delivery at the University of Bath, U.K., in 1999. Before joining Avidity in April 2015, he was the RNA Vaccine Platform Leader at Novartis Vaccines, Inc., located in Cambridge, MA, for 6 years. Dr. Geall joined Novartis in 2006 to lead the siRNA delivery efforts in the Pharmaceuticals AG division, but in 2008 moved to the Vaccines Research division to apply the non-viral delivery technologies developed for the systemic delivery of siRNA to the delivery of mRNA Vaccines. Prior to this position, Dr. Geall was manager of the Pharmaceutics department at Vical in San Diego, where he led the formulation development of the company’s DNA vaccine program and was responsible for production of the gene delivery systems for clinical trials.
Molecular Engineering and Sciences Seminar Series
This weekly seminar brings together students, faculty and invited guests from various disciplines across campus to explore current trends in molecular engineering and nanotechnology. It is a forum for active interdisciplinary discussions. These talks are open to the public and attract a diverse audience of students and faculty.