Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D., is a Professor of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology. Her research explains, at the molecular level, how and why viruses are pathogenic and provides the roadmap for medical defense. Her team has solved the structures of the Ebola, Sudan, Marburg, Bundibugyo and Lassa virus glycoproteins, explained how they remodel these structures as they drive themselves into cells, how their proteins suppress immune function and where human antibodies can defeat these viruses.
Prof. Saphire is currently leading a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-supported consortium to evaluate antibody therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2 to prevent and treat COVID-19. This consortium, CoVIC (covic.lji.org) analyzes the world’s leading therapeutic candidates side-by-side, and uses LJI’s powerful pair of Titan Krios microscopes for high-resolution analysis of the antibody interactions.
She was also the galvanizing force behind the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Immunotherapeutic Consortium and is directing this NIAID-supported organization. This consortium, Center of Excellence in Translational Research, unites 44 previously competing academic, industrial and government labs across five continents to understand and provide antibody therapeutics against Ebola, Marburg, Lassa and other viruses. A recent discovery from Instructor Kathryn Hastie revealed why neutralizing antibodies had been so difficult to elicit against Lassa virus, and provided not only the templates for the needed vaccine, but the molecule itself: a Lassa surface glycoprotein engineered to remain in the right conformation to inspire the needed antibody response. This molecule is the basis for international vaccine efforts against Lassa. Other work in their lab reveals how these and other viruses replicate and assemble using a variety of biophysical, biochemical, and immunological methods.
Dr. Saphire’s work has been recognized at the White House with the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, with young investigator awards from the International Congress of Antiviral Research, the American Society for Microbiology, and the MRC Centre for Virus Research in the United Kingdom. She has been awarded a Fulbright Global Scholar fellowship from the United States Department of State and a Mercator Fellowship from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, to develop international collaborations using cryoelectron microscopy to further global health.
RT @ljiresearch: New #heartdisease study from the Ley Lab: Predicting Gene Expression From Computed Tomography Angiography https://t.co/Kbg…
RT @ljiresearch: #TheConradPrebysFoundation has made two grants to propel the research of two early-career LJI researchers and former LJI…
I think having more than one would add to your stress. Unless they pipet accurately, in which case, get three.
I read once that the stress of grad school is equivalent to the stress caused by the death of a spouse.
Viruses are pleomorphic. We know this. Round vs filamentous and other variation within same viral species. This paper shows how the filamentous form assists attachment/entry when surface GPs are compromised by Ab. Remaining GPs achieve function in concert nature.com/articles/s4156…
500k XPRIZE for innovations at La Jolla Institute for Immunology: rapid, inexpensive #SARSCoV2 screening originally developed to allow our labs to work full-throttle at the bench and at the forefront. Congrats to Suzie Alarcon and our Next-Gen sequencing team @ljiresearch twitter.com/ljiresearch/st…
Is a job in leadership - PI or otherwise - always easy? No. Is it worth the sacrifices? Yes, absolutely. I'm continually inspired by the people I get to work with. Making resources/opportunities available for them is what allows them to shine light into dark corners of the world. twitter.com/TheColinMann/s…
i had it written into my contract that Mitch Kronenberg has to keep playing Santa. He's perfect at it.
RT @baym: People often talk about having "good hands" in the lab like it's some kind of magical gift certain people have. Yet every person…
RT @SarahYin9: Super excited since yesterday!!Feel honored to be a member since 2019. The culture, the people, the muscle, the mettle! Appl…
I love these IgAs so much.
RT @BuildWood: @florian_krammer @EOSaphire @ljiresearch Virology and Immunology are subjects that should sing out their equality. They are…
From the lab
Dr. Saphire will become La Jolla Institute’s fifth president when she formally begins her term on September 1, 2021
Leinco Technologies, Inc., and La Jolla Institute for Immunology announce license agreement to develop novel COVID-19 diagnostic tools
In addition to developing the antibodies for use in diagnostic applications based on N protein-specific antibodies, Leinco will make these antibodies commercially available as part of their extensive catalogue of research tools.
To speed inoculations, the U.S. plans to release all available vaccine doses and open access to anyone over 65. Others suggest straying from recommended doses or intentionally delaying boosters. The best way forward remains uncertain.
Awards & Honors
- Fulbright Global Scholar Award, 2019-2020
- Mercator Fellowship, DFG, Philipps Universitaet Marburg, 2018
- Eli Lilly and Company-Elanco Research Award, American Society for Microbiology, 2016
- Finalist, Classy Award for the Most Innovative Nonprofits and Social Enterprises of 2016 for VIC, 2016
- "Cool Woman", Girl Scouts San Diego, 2016
- William Prusoff Young Investigator Award, Int. Society for Antiviral Research, 2015
- Young Investigator Award, ASBMB, 2015
- Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2015
- Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology, 2014
- Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, 2009
- Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, 2009-2015
- ICAAC Young Investigator Award, American Society for Microbiology, 2006
- Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, 2003-2008
- New Initiatives Award in Global Infectious Disease, Ellison Medical Foundation, 2003
- Surhain Sidhu Award, 2003