Seminars & Colloquia Calendar
Viruses, Immunity, and Vaccines
Arup K. Chakraborty - Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT & Harvard
Date & time: Wednesday, 27 July 2022 at 10:45AM - 11:45AM
Infectious disease-causing pathogens have plagued humanity since antiquity, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been a vivid reminder of this perpetual existential threat. Vaccination has saved more lives than any other medical procedure, and indeed, effective vaccines now promise to control the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we do not have effective vaccines against rapidly mutating viruses, such as HIV; nor do we have a universal vaccine against seasonal variants of influenza or SARS-CoV-2 variants that may evolve in the future. The ability to develop effective vaccines that protect us from highly mutable viruses will help create a more pandemic-resilient world. In this talk, I will describe how by bringing together approaches from statistical physics, virology and immunology, progress is being made to address this challenge. I will briefly summarize work that aim to define the mutational vulnerabilities of mutable viruses. Then, I will focus on approaches that aim to design vaccines and immunization strategies that elicit immune responses that can target these vulnerabilities. The application of these fundamental concepts to HIV and influenza vaccines will be discussed.