Heather Callaway, Ph.D.

What if we could design longer-lasting vaccines?

My project aims to test a stabilized form of rabies glycoprotein as a vaccine candidate and to identify anti-rabies antibodies that may be used as therapeutics to treat rabies infection. To date, I have completed preliminary experiments to optimize conditions for vaccinating mice and testing their immune response, mouse vaccinations, and the first Beacon experiment to isolate anti-rabies antibodies from mice. I am currently conducting work to collect blood from vaccinated mice and quantify immune cells in order to measure the longevity of the antibody response after vaccination.

The anti-rabies antibodies that I have isolated from my first Beacon experiment could be used as new therapeutics to treat rabies infection, and could be engineered to target multiple different lyssaviruses, including rabies.

SPARKing Impact: This study lays the groundwork for the design of an effective and most importantly, longer-lasting rabies vaccine, which would help save tens of thousands of lives every year.