Emory, Georgia Tech, CDC team wins Wagner Prize for strategy to predict vaccine responses

Emory researcher and IMP faculty member, Bali Pulendran is among the recipients of this year's Daniel H. Wagner Prize for their research project titled "Machine Learning Framework for Predicting Vaccine Immunogenicity," which seeks to create a vaccine model that uses gene expression signatures to predict the efficacy of vaccines on an individual by individual basis. Dr. Pulendran is part of a multi-institution team that also includes researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The ability to better predict how different individuals will respond to vaccination and to understand what best protects them from infection marks an important advance in developing next-generation vaccines. This facilitates the rapid design and evaluation of new and emerging vaccines, and identifies individuals unlikely to benefit from a vaccine.

Bali Pulendran, PhD, whose laboratory is widely credited with launching the field of "systems vaccinology" is Charles Howard Candler Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, the Emory Vaccine Center and Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Systems vaccinology combines immunology, genomics and bioinformatics to predict the effectiveness of a vaccine without exposing individuals to infection, and offers a means to probe the molecular mechanisms underlying immunity to vaccination.

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