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Grant set to support Georgiev’s research to identify new antibodies

Mar. 24, 2022, 9:04 AM

 

by Bill Snyder

Ivelin Georgiev, PhD

Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Ivelin Georgiev, PhD, has received a three-year, $750,000 award from The G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Foundation of Rye Brook, New York, to support research aimed at rapidly identifying potent, disease-fighting antibodies.

The foundation’s mission is to advance knowledge in the life sciences that will benefit mankind by sponsoring basic scientific research with potential translational applications.

“This award will provide critical support for our efforts to decipher the fundamental rules of antibody-antigen interactions, with potential significant and long-lasting impact for the development of effective countermeasures against a broad variety of pathogens,” said Georgiev, director of the Vanderbilt Program in Computational Microbiology and Immunology.

Specifically, the award will support development of a “human antibody-antigen atlas,” essentially a library of interactions between white blood cell-derived antibodies and antigens, proteins on the surfaces of invading viruses, bacteria or other pathogens that can trigger an immune response.

A pioneer in the development of computational methods to specify antibody-antigen interactions, Georgiev is associate professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and associate professor of Computer Science in the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering.

He and his colleagues apply structure-based protein design approaches to identify new vaccine candidates and antibody products. Last year they reported the discovery of an “ultra-potent” monoclonal antibody against multiple variants of the COVID-19 virus, SARS-CoV-2, using a gene-sequencing technology they developed.

A member of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, Georgiev also is associate director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation.

 

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