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.
@ljiresearch is a wonderful place to work. If you’re in science, you spend a lot of hours at work. M-F that’s more hours w/ your colleagues than w/ your family. When those colleagues build you up & enrich you as a person as well as your scientific performance, it’s beautiful. twitter.com/ljiresearch/st…
RT @CVRinfo: 📑 APPLY NOW | The CVR @The_MRC #PhD Programme Applications are now open for our specialised MRC programme is designed to tra…
Why do some people get more severe #COVID19? Research out today: the Vijayanand lab's #openaccess #DICE database @ljiresearch points to COVID-19 risk variants on chromosome 12 causing reduced levels of OAS1 and the importance of non-classical monocytes. bit.ly/3Fwdrjl
Today in @ScienceImmunology, @ljiresearch Prof. Mick Croft shows that a protein termed TWEAK teams up with TNF and IL-17 to trigger #inflammation in #psoriasis. Targeting TWEAK is a new opportunity in inflammatory disease. fcld.ly/333z49e
RT @yorgomodis: We have a postdoc position available. Looking for someone with protein biochemistry & structural biology experience to join…
“That LJI has people recognized in very different branches, speaks to the excellence of the science at LJI and the diversity of the scientific problems tackled here." - @SetteLab I couldn't agree more! twitter.com/ljiresearch/st…
Congratulations to the SIX amazing LJI scientists on the #HighlyCited2021 list! Their work is advancing our tools to fight infectious diseases, cancer, atherosclerosis, autoimmune disease and more. Well done! bit.ly/3DmVCT3 @ClarivateAG
RT @ljiresearch: LJI Prof. Alex Sette weighs on how long #COVID19 vaccines last: bit.ly/30gKXLl "It could be that there is a leve…
Data from @profshanecrotty @ljiresearch show that vax leads to successful memory responses - that third shot will boost those memory cells for greater #COVID19 protection during the upcoming winter season. Nice article from @JonathanWosen @sdut twitter.com/sdut/status/14…
Congratulations to my esteemed @ljiresearch colleague Prof. Matthias von Herrath for well-deserved recognition as a world expert in Type 1 Diabetes #T1D on World Diabetes Day. Your research will uncover the causes and open new doors for much-needed treatments. twitter.com/Daily_Experts/…
Congratulations to Gabriel and Sonya, two great grad students investigating HIV and vaccine design. These @ARCSSanDiego awards open the door to mentorship and can really advance a career! twitter.com/ljiresearch/st…
RT @eolmedillas: Happy to be interviewed in #Fox5 with the great @EOSaphire showing how the vaccine candidate #VFLIP can help to develop n…
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