The coronavirus pandemic has emphasized the importance of vaccines, particularly for the elderly, who have been disproportionately impacted by the virus. However, a decline in immune response as well as inflammation that accompanies aging require a booster to improve the immune response.
Jai Rudra, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering, will collaborate with Meredith Jackrel, assistant professor of chemistry in Arts & Sciences, both at Washington University in St. Louis, to develop and test a novel nanofiber material to eliminate the use of adjuvants – a substance that is added to a vaccine to help stimulate the immune system.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has funded their work with a two-year $433,125 grant. The award funds high-risk, exploratory research for the early and conceptual stages of developing a project.