Bryce Chackerian, PhD

Faculty Titles
Associate Professor
Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology

Research Program
Cancer Therapeutics: Technology, Discovery and Targeted Delivery

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Personal Statement

I have been working on vaccine development using nanoparticle-based platforms for over 20 years. Overall, the aim of my work is to develop simple, effective vaccines that make an impact on human health worldwide. As a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. John Schiller’s laboratory at the National Cancer Institute, I began exploring the use of virus-like particles (VLPs) as a platform for antigen display. In a number of manuscripts, we showed that presentation of heterologous antigens on VLPs dramatically enhances their immunogenicity. Strikingly, we showed that VLP display of self-antigens overcomes the mechanisms of B cell tolerance allowing the induction of strong antibody responses against self. This discovery opened up an entire new class of vaccines that target self-antigens that are involved in chronic diseases. We have designed vaccines for a number of chronic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s Disease, allergies, and elevated cholesterol, and our intellectual property was licensed to a Swiss biotechnology company (Cytos) which initiated clinical trials targeting self-antigens and using VLP-based vaccines. Since I arrived at the University of New Mexico in 2004 I have worked closely with Dr. David Peabody to exploit bacteriophage VLPs as a flexible platform for peptide display. Our work has led to the development of a candidate second-generation human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and a candidate malaria vaccine; both vaccines are in clinical development with the assistance of the biotechnology company Agilvax, of which I am a founder. In addition, my laboratory has active projects in which we are using our platform technology to target a variety of pathogens, including Dengue virus, Chlamydia trachomatis, HIV, Staphylococcus aureous, Influenza virus, and malaria.